Australian Open 2012: Roger Federer vs. Juan Martin Del Potro Preview

Shane Lambert@uncoolnegatedAnalyst IIJanuary 23, 2012

Roger Federer
Roger FedererMark Dadswell/Getty Images

The 2012 Australian Open continues on Tuesday, and Day 9 action from Melbourne Park will feature four quarterfinal matches—two from the men's draw and two from the women's draw. One of those matches will be between Roger Federer of Switzerland and Juan Martin del Potro of Argentina.

Federer and del Potro have not met in Grand Slam play since the Argentine famously defeated Federer in the final of the 2009 US Open.

That victory marked the last time del Potro had a significant victory in a Grand Slam match as he suffered a wrist injury a few months later.

Although he has been back on tour for over a year now, del Potro has not been as lethal as he was prior to the injury, and his efforts against Federer on Day 9 will be insightful.

If del Potro can defeat Federer in a Grand Slam quarterfinal match, then the Argentine will certainly have taken a major step toward silencing his critics.

However, if Federer wins, then del Potro's run at the 2012 Australian Open will not look that impressive. Despite making the quarters, del Potro has beaten no one more talented at Melbourne Park this year than Philipp Kohlschreiber—a veteran player but one who has never made it to a Grand Slam quarterfinal.

Del Potro and Federer have met nine times in the past, with the Swiss Maestro taking seven of those matches. They have met four times in majors with Federer going 3-1 in those efforts, including a straight-sets victory in the quarters of the 2009 Australian Open.

The only match that the two players have played since del Potro came back from his wrist injury was a best-of-three-set affair at the Cincinnati Masters in 2011.

Federer swept del Potro aside in that match in straight sets.

Day 9's quarterfinal match between Federer and del Potro promises to be an up-and-down affair. However, there is still not much reason to believe in del Potro, as his record against the top players on tour has not been strong since his return.

The match between Tomas Berdych and Rafael Nadal appears much more likely to produce an upset at Melbourne Park than del Potro's match against Federer.

Federer is playing well at the 2012 Australian Open, and he should still be fresh as he received a walkover earlier in the tournament. He looks strong to make the semifinals.

His showdown against del Potro is the fourth match on the schedule of play for Day 9 in Rod Laver Arena, part of the morning/afternoon session.