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Federer battles back to see off Del Potro

ESPN staff
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Roger Federer recovered from a slow start against Juan Martin Del Potro © PA Photos
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Roger Federer staged a remarkable fightback to reach the French Open semi-finals as the Swiss came from two sets down to defeat Juan Martin Del Potro.

The world No. 3 looked out-of-sorts as he dropped the opening two sets, but capitalised on a knee injury for Del Potro to claim a 3-6 6-7(4) 6-2 6-0 6-3 victory at Roland Garros.

Del Potro, who defeated Federer to win his first grand slam title in the 2009 US Open final, caused the Swiss real problems with his powerful groundstrokes.

Federer looked to be heading for defeat after he dropped the second set tiebreak, but Del Potro received treatment for a knee injury and struggled with his movement as the 16-time grand slam champion roared back to secure a place in the last four.

Federer, who has not won a major in over two years, found himself on the back foot as Del Potro drew first blood and consolidated his advantage with a second break of serve. Federer managed to break back to 4-3, and saved a set point with an ace, but Del Potro held firm to close out the opener.

With Del Potro content to build play from the baseline, Federer's error count was uncharacteristically high as he threw away an early advantage in the second. Having secured a break of serve, the Swiss lashed at a loose ball as he allowed Del Potro to level at 3-3. Visibly frustrated, Federer kept his cool to force a second-set tiebreak, but was unable to prevent the No. 9 seed moving into a two-set lead.

Desperately searching for a route back into the match, Federer quickly began to make amends, grabbing an early break in the third, largely helped by a double fault from his opponent, and Federer was firmly in the ascendancy as Del Potro called for the doctor.

The Argentine has been troubled by an injury to his left knee since he arrived in Paris, and the forehand that had caused so much damage earlier in the match began to spray wide as Federer strolled through the third set before bagelling a clearly wounded Del Potro in the fourth.

An early break in the fifth put Federer firmly on course for victory and he never looked in danger of dropping his serve as he kept his cool to see out the victory to secure a semi-final showdown with world No. 1 Novak Djokovic.

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