Two points from victory against inexperienced, unheralded Juan Martin del Potro of Argentina, two points from a sixth consecutive title at Flushing Meadows and a record-extending 16th Grand Slam overall, Federer, quite simply, fell apart Monday.
He railed at the chair umpire. His legs grew weary. His double-faults mounted. He could not figure out a way to stop the 6-foot-6 del Potro from pounding forehand after forehand past him. In a result as surprising for who lost as how it happened, del Potro came back to win his first Grand Slam title by upsetting Federer 3-6, 7-6 (5), 4-6, 7-6 (4), 6-2.