Rafael Nadal defeats Juan Martin del Potro at Wimbledon

Grant SmithJul 13, 2018

He eventually he clinched a 7-5 6-7 (7-9) 4-6 6-4 6-4 victory after four hours and 47 minutes.

Del Potro threw everything he could at Nadal in a pulsating match and even conjured the shot of the tournament as he acrobatically dived to his right to hit a fizzing forehand volley that ended a spellbinding 23-shot rally.

For Del Potro, who dived, tumbled and slipped as he tried to contain the two-time Wimbledon champion it was an 11th defeat in 16 meetings with the Spaniard.

The 2009 US Open champion's spirit never died and he set up another three break points but Nadal relentlessly moved just one game away from the semi-finals after a 13-minute game.

"It will be a different match that we played in Paris a few weeks ago", Del Potro told reporters.

Nadal was two sets to one down before fighting back to win in five sets - and nearly five hours - to reach his first SW19 semi-final since 2011. "I don't want to stop here".

"The crowd at the end was awesome".

"It was a very emotional match. great quality tennis, especially in the last set there were some wonderful points". But Rafa is Rafa. "I've only lost one match", said Nadal. I went to the net.

"It feels nice to be back in the last four of a Grand Slam, I didn't experience that for a while", he said.

"Of course I was anxious when I lost the second set", said Nadal, who had reached the quarter-finals without dropping a set and might have continued that run had he not squandered four set points, including one with a double fault, in the tiebreak. He squandered the chance to serve out the set and that looked to be costly when he trailed 4-1 in the breaker, but his rival double-faulted on one of four set points as the nerves set in.

The pair have produced some of the greatest matches ever seen - which include memorable Grand Slam finals and career-defining victories.

"Then the match changed". He started 2018 in politician's mode, arguing for a new union to represent the interests of male tennis players.

"I am very happy the way that I survived a lot of important points in that fifth set". I think that these performances here at Wimbledon have been the best I've had in the last 12 months. "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".

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.

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