The Argentine was at the top of his game going into the 2010 season and was the first person to break Federer, Nadal and Novak Djokovic's hold over the major tournaments. The trio had won all 12 Grand Slam titles in the three years leading up to the 2009 final.
Del Potro beat the Spaniard in straight sets in the semi-finals and then went on to beat the Swiss ace, who had won the US Open for five consecutive years coming into the finals in 2009. The latter was on a 41-match winning streak until he fell to the Argentine.
The 29-year-old was became the world number four after his triumph at Flushing Meadows and was expected to challenge the big three on a regular basis going into the 2010 campaign.
However, a wrist injury at the start of the season ensured that his game time was limited and he was unable to carry the momentum from the previous campaign. Del Potro decided to go under the knife to rectify the problem – the first of three surgeries he has had thus far.
"Yes, of course. I not only believed it, but also showed it on court. Rafa never lost a Grand Slam semi-final in the manner in which I defeated him. And Federer had not lost many finals to players other and Nadal or Novak Djokovic," Del Potro said, as quoted on Tennis World USA.
"On the tennis aspect, I thought to be able to fight against them but my career changed. Almost ten years after, I feel lucky for what I have," the Argentine added.
Del Potro returned to the tour following his first wrist injury and got back into the top 10 in 2012, but his injury issues were far from over. He underwent surgery to rectify a recurrence of his wrist injury first in March 2014, and for the final time in June 2015, which saw him play just five tournaments in two years.
The Argentine returned to action in 2016 but was ranked 1042 in the world. He has since worked his way back up and is currently ranked number eight in the world. He won his first title of the 2018 season at the Mexico Open in Acapulco on 26 February.