Friday, 16 November, 2018

Rafael Nadal Topples Juan Martin Del Potro to Advance at 2018 Wimbledon

Cassandra Gardner | 13 July, 2018, 07:46

The 17-time Grand Slam champion was not to be denied a place in the semis, though, coming through a monumental battle with the fifth seed to win 7-5, 6-7 (7), 4-6, 6-4, 6-4 in four hours and 47 minutes. I tried to resist, maintaining focus.

"Rafa is a fighter", del Potro said.

"I was close to beating him and I couldn´t because Rafa always has a little bit more than the rest of the players on tour".

"Sorry to Juan Martin, he's an fantastic opponent and player".

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.

The crowd were on their feet when Del Potro took off to end a magnificent point with a diving volley in a marathon third game, yet Nadal got the break with a sublime cross-court victor in the next service game.

Del Potro trailed 1-3 but at 5-5 he fired down a swinging ace to reach match point number five and this time Simon cracked, netting a backhand to the relief of the Argetine who roared his approval.

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Del Potro was straining to stay in touch in almost every point, and his gambling instincts drove him to explore the white lines.

Nadal started strong on serve to power his way into a 3-2 lead during the opening set. It also meant the "King of Clay" was one game away from taking the set.

Del Potro refused to surrender, breaking back in game 10 to level the score at 5-5 and he saved four set points in the tie break, climbing back from 3-6 down to steal the set 9-7 and make a huge roar of relief, ready to fight until the very last point.

Then Del Porto managed to hold serve to love, forcing Nadal to serve out the match, which he did, winning it 6-4 to reach his sixth semi-final.

One such chase left Nadal toppling into the arms of a stunned woman sitting in the front row as he failed to put on the breaks as he dashed after a Del Potro smash.

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

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