Nadal faces Djokovic looking to settle score

Tanya Simon
July 14, 2018

When the 4 hours, 48 minutes of diving across the grass and leaping into the stands, of slipping and sliding, of so many moments of great tension - and, above all, great tennis - were done, when Rafael Nadal had sealed his Wimbledon quarterfinal victory, the man he edged, Juan Martin del Potro, was face-down at a Centre Court baseline.

Juan Martin del Potro lay sprawled face down on the slippery and dusty Centre Court turf as Nadal punched away a final backhand volley to seal a 7-5 6-7 (7) 4-6 6-4 6-4 win that took him into the semi-finals for the first time since 2011.

The 2009 US Open champion has steadfastly refused to submit, returning after surgery to reach grand slam semi-finals and winning an Olympic Games silver medal.

The world number one then wasted four set points in the second. "It's true that he played two great points with his serve, but that double fault was a big mistake. But Rafa came to me and we made a big hug, and it was kind of him", said Del Potro. I think that's not fair. "But maybe tomorrow or after tomorrow when I get home and I watch the match or some points again, I will be glad with my level, with my style of game". El Espanol revealed it. 'I am coming from being in the cold water and now I have to rest', Nadal said in his post-match press conference at around 10:00 PM.

But when Nadal had a third opportunity to close out the set, the first on his serve, he double-faulted.

"Then the match changed".

"I think I won the best point of the match", the Argentine said with a rueful smile after being beaten by Nadal for the 11th time in 16 meetings.

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Great match, an emotional match for both of us and for the fans, too.

Nadal caught Del Potro napping in the fifth game of the fourth set, breaking him to love to lead 3-2. So I feel comfortable he would get through. The highest seed left in the women's draw, 2016 finalist Kerber was 3-0 up in the first set before her 21-year-old opponent had time to react.

"Friday is another important match against opponent that is one of the most hard ones that you can face". He's playing well. The only way to try to win it is play very well.

"What do you want me to do, a handstand?" joked Nadal.

Novak Djokovic of Serbia celebrates defeating Karen Khachanov of Russian Federation in their men's singles match on the seventh day at the Wimbledon Tennis Championships in London, Monday July 9, 2018.

Both players said the match is likely to come down to a few crucial points, but took different tones when asked to suggest where they might have an advantage.

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