Back in July 1998, the 16-year-old Roger Federer made his ATP debut at home in Gstaad, just a few days after winning the junior Wimbledon crown. Thirteen and a half years and 16 Grand Slam titles later, the great Swiss defeated Juan Martin del Potro on January 24, 2012, in the quarter-final of the Australian Open to set the semi-final clash against Rafael Nadal, competing in his 1000th ATP match in a career!
Roger defeated Juan Martin 6-4, 6-3, 6-2 in an hour and 59 minutes for his 814th ATP victory (186 defeats), getting broken once from six opportunities given to the Argentine and staling 45% of the return points to secure five breaks from eight chances, playing better and better as the match progressed to set the clash with his old rival Nadal.
The Swiss lost just five points behind his first serve and fended off five out of six break points to keep the pressure on his opponent who failed to endure it. Federer held at 15 in the opening game with a service winner and moved ahead a couple of minutes later when Delpo netted an easy smash.
A forehand drive-volley winner pushed Federer 3-0 up after just nine minutes, squandering the opportunity to increase his lead before Juan Martin broke back in game seven to reduce the deficit and get back to the positive side of the scoreboard.
Roger held at 15 in game nine with a beautiful lob and the set was in his hands after a break at 15 in the game that followed thanks to a dobule fault from the Argentine. A backhand down the line winner in game four of the second set sent Roger in front, fending off break chances at 5-3 to close the set with a service winner and move two sets to love up.
A return winner at the beginning of the third set secured another break for the crowd favorite who marched towards the finish line with another break at 4-2 when his backhand overpowered the rival's shots yet again. Serving for the triumph in the next game, the Swiss blasted a backhand down the line winner to wrap up the victory and book the semi-final clash with Rafael Nadal.