Published: Thu, July 12, 2018
Sports | By Jonathan Ford

Rafael Nadal reaches Wimbledon quarter-finals for first time since 2011

Rafael Nadal reaches Wimbledon quarter-finals for first time since 2011

World number 1 Rafael Nadal has reached his first Wimbledon semi-final since 2011 and the 28th overall, becoming the fifth player in the Open era with so many Grand Slams after an epic 7-5 6-7 4-6 6-4 6-4 triumph over Juan Martin del Potro in four hours and 48 minutes!

Del Potro repelled them both but Rafa held at 15 in the following game, clinching the set 6-4 and sending this wonderful encounter into a decider.

Nadal ended the four-hour-and-48-minute thriller with a backhand volley victor past a lunging Del Potro who ended the contest lying flat on his stomach.

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.

Now Nadal will face longtime rival Novak Djokovic in the semifinals Friday.

Nadal could have gone up two sets to none after leading 6-3 in the tiebreaker. It had a little of everything, great points, great rallies, he was hitting insane with his forehands. Both players have settled into a nice rhythm in the opening set and it was Nadal who kept a high level in the entire set, serving at 75% and losing only eight points on serve, avoiding deuces or tie breaks to keep the pressure on Delpo.

It was Del Potro who held sway early in the third, building a 3-2 lead. I went to the net. Later in that 14-point, four-deuce game, Nadal chased a ball to no avail, sprinting so hard he was carried all the way over to the seats.

The deciding fifth set was a tight battle, but in the fifth game, Nadal got the solitary break to lead 3-2.

That never really felt like much of a cushion, though.

Del Potro was straining to stay in touch in almost every point, and his gambling instincts drove him to explore the white lines. Eventually, things went to a tiebreak Del Potro won to capture the set. There were no service breaks until the tenth game where Del Porto beat Nadal with a forehand victor to get the service break and set, 6-4.

After the victory, Nadal said: 'He played well.

"Rafa is a fighter". "Also, he has a fantastic game".

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