Roger Federer made the Olympic Games debut in 2000 in Sydney, barely missing a medal at 19. Four years later, Tomas Berdych ousted him in Athens and it wasn't to be for the Swiss in Beijing four years later a swell. Desperate to add one of the last notable titles he was missing in his collection, Federer got a massive opportunity to chase the Golden Slam in London 2012, just a couple of weeks after lifting the seventh Wimbledon trophy.
Returning to his beloved courts at the All England Club, Roger had to dig deep in the opening round against Alejandro Falla before finding the rhythm versus Julien Benneteau and Denis Istomin. In the quarters, Federer prevailed against John Isner with a single break of serve, setting the semi-final encounter with world no.
9 Juan Martin del Potro. Following the semi-final in s-Hertogenbosch 2008, the Argentine didn't play that well on the fastest surface, reaching the fourth round at Wimbledon twice and saving his best tennis for the Olympic Games.
Del Potro advanced into the semis, moving closer to a medal and giving his best against the seven-time Wimbledon champion Roger Federer on August 3. After four hours and 26 minutes of epic tennis, Federer prevailed 3-6, 7-6, 19-17, in what has been the longest three-setter in the Open era, stealing the title from that titanic battle between Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal in Madrid 2009.
Federer won six points more overall, getting broken twice and squandering 11 out of 13 opportunities on the return, missing a chance to seal the deal earlier. Federer had more winners and more errors, building the advantage in the shortest range up to four strokes thanks to 23 aces and losing ground a bit in the more extended exchanges that kept Juan Martin alive for almost four and a half hours.
Del Potro erased a break point in the third game, forcing an error from Roger at 4-3 to forge the advantage.
Serving for the opener, the Argentine held at love with a forehand winner, taking it 6-3 in 36 minutes and hoping for more of the same in the rest of the duel.
In the second game of the second set, the Argentine repelled two break chances, closing the game with a backhand winner and boosting his confidence. At 2-2, Federer was in trouble behind the initial shot, saving a break point with a powerful serve and bringing the game home after many deuces to remain in touch.
Del Potro also had to play against a break chance in the next one, staying calm and leveling the score at 3-3. In one of the most crucial moments of the encounter, Roger landed a forehand winner to defend a break point at 4-4, clinching the tie break 7-5 with an ace to set the deciding set.
It was the one that earned the place in the record books and Juan Martin prolonged it after passing all the obstacles in games seven and nine. Federer wasted a massive chance at 7-7 when he netted a routine backhand on a break point, finally moving in front at 9-9 to serve for the victory.
Cold as ice, Juan Martin broke back at love to level the score at 10-10 and extend the drama and excitement. After commanding holds on both sides, del Potro had to dig deep at 14-14, fending off three break chances and moving two points away from the victory in the next one.
Roger Federer brought the game home after two deuces, making the decisive move with a break at 15 at 17-17, serving for the place in the final for the second time. There were no mistakes from the Swiss this time around, sealing the deal after a forced error from Juan Martin to advance into the first and only Olympic Games final.