Roger Federer hopes that his music can tame the savage beast that is Juan Martin Del Potro tomorrow.
If anyone can do it, surely it is the Swiss Maestro. The virtuosic Federer has now won 40 consecutive matches at the U.S. Open, and he has not lost since falling to another Argentine, David Nalbandian, in the 4th round in 2003. Since then Federer has been the conductor at the U.S. Open, with the rest of the men's field looking like lowly musicians in the orchestra pit.
Seeking his 6th consecutive U.S. Open title, and his 16th overall, the Basel, Switzerland native will attempt to neutralize the heavy hitting 20-year-old from Tandil, Argentina, who stormed his way past Rafael Nadal earlier today in decisive fashion.
Federer, meanwhile, was equally decisive in his straight set victory over Novak Djokovic.
While the relatively inexperienced Del Potro might seem like easy prey for a savvy veteran like Federer, his run to the finals this year has been surprisingly dominant. The 6'6" phenom made short work of 6-time Grand-Slam champion Rafa Nadal today, employing a nasty array of ballistic serves and lethal ground strokes to keep Nadal pinned behind the baseline for the majority of the 6-2, 6-2, 6-2 thumping.
As good as Del Potro has played, he'll need to find another level if he plans to triumph on Monday. He's been on the losing end of six straight decisions against Federer, including a straight set drubbing in the quarter finals of the Australian Open in which he managed only three games, and a dramatic 5-set thriller in the semis of the French Open where he blew a 2-1 lead after three sets.
While Del Potro clearly has a long way to go before he can say he's solved the mystery of Federer, the fact that he finally took two sets from the world No. 1 in Paris bodes well for his confidence in the final.
There will be plenty of confidence on the other side of the net as well, as Federer has won 32 of his last 33 matches, and is attempting to become the first player to win three consecutive Grand-Slam titles since Rod Laver completed his second Grand-Slam in 1969. In addition to that remarkable feat, Federer will also attempt to become the first player to win 6 consecutive U.S. Opens since Bill Tilden accomplished the feat from 1920-1925.
Federer's attempt at a record-breaking sixth consecutive Wimbledon fell short last year, so the hoarder of tennis trophies will more than likely be especially motivated to keep Del Potro titleless in order to increase his stranglehold on the record books.
"It's just a matter of hopefully I've got one more match in me now to get six in a row," he said. "It would be absolutely amazing, it's something I wasn't able to do at Wimbledon, even though I was so close. So I hope things go well for me. I'm feeling great and I really hope I can do it."
Del Potro, meanwhile, would like nothing more than to use his imposing height to tear a page from Federer's book. He could someday become the tallest player to ever achieve the No. 1 ranking if continues to improve at his current astronomical rate. Marat Safin, at 6'4", holds that distinction at the moment.
But imposing or not, the beast will have to hit some beautiful shots to wrestle to trophy from the hands of Federer.