Roger Federer Defeats Juan Del Potro, Battles For Olympic Gold Medal On Sunday

Swiss tennis star Roger Federer clinched the first singles medal of his career Friday in an epic Olympic marathon, winning 19-17 in the final set against Argentina’s Juan Martin del Potro.

Federer, who won his seventh Wimbledon championship back in July, was on the brink of a shock defeat on Centre Court after dropping the first set, but battled back and eventually subdued del Potro in the longest three-set men’s singles match in the Open Era.

“It was very emotional for both us and a big match obviously, it was so close and tough for him to lose,” Federer said after the match, which lasted a record four hours and 26 minutes. “Emotionally I’m extremely drained. I guess I’ll feel it tomorrow … I was very, very touched at the end.”

With the comeback win, four-time Olympian and current top ranked tennis player in the world Federer is assured of at least a silver.

On Sunday in the final he’ll face the winner of Friday’s semifinal between Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic. Del Potro will play the loser of Murray-Djokovic matchup for the bronze.

“I couldn’t be happier, it’s a big moment in my life and a big moment for Switzerland,” Federer, who celebrates his 31st birthday in just five days (Aug. 8), said. “I was aware it’s the first medal for Switzerland and [it was] a big thing that carried me throughout.”

On the women’s side first-time Olympian Maria Sharapova topped Russian teammate Maria Kirilenko 6-2, 6-3 to advance to the gold medal match. Sharapova’s opponent Saturday will be Serena Williams or No. 1-seeded Victoria Azarenka of Belarus.

via ABC