Same old, same old as Nadal wins another five-set nail-biter

Tanya Simon
July 13, 2018

Juan Martin del Potro advanced to the Wimbledon quarterfinals for the first time since 2013 after beating Gilles Simon 7-6 (1), 7-6 (5), 5-7, 7-6 (5).

When he lost in the French Open quarter-finals to world number 72 Marco Cecchinato last month, he even suggested he was ready to skip Wimbledon this year as his ranking slipped to 22, his lowest since August 2006. He picked himself up and dusted himself down to play on for another eight games, but it was a different story an hour later when there was nothing left to fight for.

"I think after each win throughout these 10 days, I've had a Kit Kat".

"I´m glad to play in this level against the No. 1 in the world. I've only lost one match", said Nadal.

Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic have set up a box office Wimbledon semi-final but Roger Federer's title defence came to a screeching halt on a drama-charged day at The All England Club.

The world number one then wasted four set points in the second.

The twice champion broke back but squandered four set points in the second set tiebreak, with a double fault on one of them. A great quality of tennis, especially in the last set, some unbelievable points, .

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Soon, Nadal gained the upper hand, shaking off a hard fall onto his back on one point by whipping a cross-court backhand victor on the next to break for a 3-2 lead.

A tired Del Potro, a semi-finalist in 2013, finished with 33 aces and 77 winners but even those impressive statistics were not enough.

"I didn't want to finish the match like that", said Del Potro, who hit 77 winners. I knew I was in a good spot. But maybe after tomorrow when I get home and I watch the match, I will be glad.

Nadal, the 2008 and 2010 champion, will now face three-time victor Djokovic for the 52nd time with the Serb holding a 26-25 edge. But with a pair of relative novices in John Isner and Kevin Anderson playing the first semi-final, the victor of today's clash between Nadal and Djokovic will go into Sunday as an nearly unbackable favourite.

'I feel sorry for Juan Martin. "In some ways he deserves to win as well", said Nadal after the breath-taking quarter-final.

That mishap could not stop Nadal from reaching his sixth Wimbledon semi-final and he celebrated the moment by raising both arms up into the skies after four hours and 48 minutes of thrilling action.

Incidently, the Nadal versus Del Potro match lasted exactly the same length as Rafa's win against Roger Federer in the 2008 final. He started 2018 in politician's mode, arguing for a new union to represent the interests of male tennis players.

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