Nadal survives thriller to down Del Potro in quarter-finals

Lynette Rowe
July 12, 2018

World number one Rafael Nadal rallied from behind to defeat Argentina's Juan Martin del Potro 7-5, 6-7 (7-9), 4-6, 6-4 6-4 for a place in the Wimbledon semi-finals. "I am just excited to be in the semis".

"Rafa is a fighter and he has a fantastic game". I was close to beating him and I couldn't.

In a match filled with entertaining rallies between two of the biggest hitters in the game, Nadal came from a set down to win 7-5, 6-7 (7), 4-6, 6-4, 6-4 in 4 hours, 48 minutes - the longest match of this year's tournament.

Del Potro let two break-back points slip in the sixth game and then forced Nadal to save three more breaks for 5-3.

"I do think that towards the end of the match there was a certain dampness in the sections where there was still grass, nearer the net, when the humidity drops", Nadal explained in his Spanish language press conference. Nadal took him to deuce but couldn't nail the break and they went to the shootout, where, against all likelihood, Nadal double-faulted on set point.

The second seed, eyeing a third Wimbledon title, with his last triumph at SW19 coming eight years ago, struck 66 winners compared to 77 from Del Potro, who fired down 33 aces in a contest that ebbed and flowed throughout.

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Nadal wasted a fourth chance at 7-6, before letting 2009 U.S. Open champion del Potro grab three points in a row for that set. "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".

Nadal has 17 while Djokovic has stalled on 12 since completing the career Grand Slam at Roland Garros in 2016. Sorry to Juan Martin, he's an incredible opponent and unbelievable player. "In some ways he deserves to win as well", said Nadal after the breath-taking quarter-final.

While you were watching the World Cup semi-final last night, and before that, while you were desperately trying to get out of work to go home and watch the World Cup semi-final, there was a day for ages playing out at Wimbledon, featuring, of course, Roger Federer and Rafa Nadal.

"In the last set there was a little of everything, great points, great rallies, he was hitting insane with his forehands". I tried to resist, maintaining focus.

And Nadal rued failing to take control against del Potro much earlier.

"I play Los Cabos in Mexico - the beach", he smiled.

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