Published: Fri, July 13, 2018
Sports | By Jonathan Ford

Nadal fights past Del Porto, Novak next

Nadal fights past Del Porto, Novak next

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The victor between Kevin Anderson and John Isner will go second on the Open era list for most attempts before reaching the Wimbledon final behind Marin Cilic, who set the record previous year after reaching the final on his 11th Wimbledon appearance.

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. Del Potro said. "My body feels OK".

Anderson's experience of having already won a grand slam semi-final may also be a factor here. 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. "He deserves to win today and keep winning", said the 29-year-old Argentine. "After nearly five hours of running and playing at this high level against the No. 1 in the world and lost, it's not good for me".

"I think he will be fine, for sure".

Del Potro raised his game again, though, claiming his third tie-break success of the match to book his date with Nadal.

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.

Nadal broke for 3-2 but had to save break points in the sixth and eighth games before securing a memorable victory.

There was, however, one consolation for Del Potro who came off second best despite belting down 33 aces and producing 77 staggering winners, 10 more than Nadal.

"At the moment I'm feeling sad", del Porto told reporters.

"He is one of the more complex players that I ever saw in our sport".

"Obviously I'm very ecstatic to get through that match", Anderson said.

Djokovic leads 26-25 in their head-to-head, dominating in recent times with seven victories in the past nine matches.

That blip was enough for Nadal, chasing an 18th Grand Slam title, to surrender his first set of the championships.

Nadal saved three break points before an imperious forehand victor put him 5-3 up and he put away a simple volley to finally finish off Del Potro, then made his way around the net to embrace his tired opponent as he lay on the court following another tumble. Especially his backhand, he can go both ways.

Nadal, 32, and Djokovic, 31, meet in a highly anticipated Wimbledon semi-final at about 16:30 BST on Friday.

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