Roger Federer exacted revenge for his US Open loss to Juan Martin Del Potro as he survived the challenge of the ‘Tower of Tandil’ 3-6, 6-4, 6-3 to set up the fourth so-called Fedal (Federer vs Nadal) clash of 2017.

All eyes were on Del Potro’s left wrist as he took a nasty fall in yesterday’s quarter-final match against Victor Troicki and landed awkwardly on his arm. Rumors were circling he might not play the semi-final after the Argentinian went to the hospital to get a scan of his troublesome wrist on which he has had received multiple surgeries during the course of his injury plagued career.

A look of anguish on Juan Martin del Potro’s face as he grabs his wrist after tumbling down

Del Potro’s agent Jorge Viale tweeted that the test showed a “wrist contusion” and that the doctors put a splint in his wrist to immobilize it. He also mentioned that nothing serious was hampering the gentle giant and that on the day of the semi-finals he would decide whether he would play or not.

Federer presented himself ready for the battle of the forehands after having beaten Richard Gasquet in the battle of the backhands. He chimed in on Friday on his next opponent’s injury woes, saying:

“I hope for him it’s nothing serious. I’ll be ready to come out here and play and it’s for revenge of the loss at the US Open.”

Strong uncharacteristic statement from Federer. Big boy talk! It only made this match-up even more tantalizing than it already was.

Luckily for all us tennis fans the blockbuster semi-final was a go!

Early proceedings saw both players absolutely hammering the ball. Testimony to that is the fact that the first twelve points had seven crackling winners. Juan Martin’s injury didn’t seem to bother him as he came over his backhand stroke more often than in his previous rounds.

First break point of the match was for Federer in the third game. Del Potro’s first serve ace came through to snuff out the break chance and he went on to tough out a strong hold. After some relative easy holds of serve that followed it was instead Federer who faced two break points at 15-40 down. Juan Martin would capitalize on the first time of asking as Federer sent his backhand long.

Juan Martin now had a cushion, leading 4-2. He would hold for 5-2, serving monstrously as he put seven aces by Federer, while the imperious Swiss had yet to ace his opponent.

With del Potro also boasting impressive returning numbers, making no less than 91% of returns, he really was taking the racquet out of Federer’s hand.

Serving for the set, Juan Martin continued to overpower the Swiss no. 2. The rally of the match came at 5-3, 30-30 as an extensive exchange saw Federer eventually shanking his forehand pass. The Chinese crowd were loving it. The 16th seed clinched the set with an ace out wide: 6-3.

Federer started the second set with an ace, something he was unable to do in the first set. He followed it up with a second and a third to take the opening game. It would be a token of what was yet to come. His change of tactics were evident as Federer all of a sudden pulled out the forehand drop shot but the trick from Roger failed to clear the net.

Del Potro’s level didn’t dip and he was putting up a masterclass, producing winners from everywhere on the court. Federer didn’t play bad but he couldn’t get his racquet on enough returns. The second set was level at 2-2.

The seventh game of the second set had all sorts of special shotmaking in it. Federer got to break point on the Argentine’s serve but once again Delpo came up with the goods as he played an impossible pass to deny federer the advantage in the second set. Federer just had to laugh it off.

A couple more chances had gone begging as well, but on the fifth attempt Roger took his opportunity as del Potro’s forehand sailed wide. Federer had broken the Argentine’s service in a game that took little over 14 minutes of scintillating play. Federer was up 4-2, up and running. Juan Martin, on the other hand, was absolutely livid with the noises coming from the crowd as he got entangled in multiple arguments with the umpire.

Juan Martin persuaded the umpire to tell the announcer to get out his microphone and tell the raucous Chinese crowd to be quiet between first and second serves. Needless to say, those efforts were in vain

Errors began to creep in del Potro’s sledgehammer game. The first set point on the 29-year old’s serve at 5-2 got swatted away. On the second Juan Martin ad libbed a between the legs shot mid-rally that was truly Federer-esque. He went on to hold to at least make Federer serve for it at 5-3.

He would do so to love: 6-3. Statistics showed it was Federer who was the only one who could boast positive numbers in the second set regarding the winners to unforced errors ratio: 14 to 4. This contest deserved a magnificent third set decider and that’s exactly what the crowd and everybody watching got to see.

Federer didn’t take long to break again. In the third game the no. 2 of the world’s defending was on full display as his squash shot made del Potro think just long enough to miss the easy forehand. The Swiss was animated as ever as he greeted the break with a loud “Come on!”

With the break, leading 2-1, Federer was really motoring his all-court game. The deft touch volleys, drop shots, backhand return bombs, they were all working and signs were ominous as del Potro was wrongfooted more than he would like.

The one break deficit would indeed prove to be irreversible. The quality of play however, remained brutal. Every weak shot was getting obliterated by the opposition. Proceedings went on serve henceforth with neither player being troubled again until the ninth game.

At 5-3 30-40 on the del Potro serve, the match saw a tentative match point that ended with del Potro’s backhand clipping the tape. Federer’s relieve was evident. He had just extended his head to head record over Juan Martin to 17-6 and done so in most impressive fashion.

Federer had avenged his loss to del Potro at the US Open. Juan Martin was awefully close in preventing the tennis world from witnessing another Fedal showdown, awfully close. The match will go down as one of the best of the 2017 season, and that’s something for del Potro to be proud of.

Federer and Nadal, the two juggernaughts of the game, will now battle it out in Sunday’s final in Shanghai. Will Federer make it a clean sheet and beat Nadal for an unprecedented four times in one year? Check out Tennis-Pulse to not miss a beat of that mouthwatering final in prospect.