Published: Thu, July 12, 2018
Sports | By Juana Wells

Nadal to face Djokovic after beating Del Potro in epic

Nadal to face Djokovic after beating Del Potro in epic

Second seed Nadal lost a mere seven points on serve in the first two sets, struck 37 winners and barely put a foot wrong, comfortably sealing a last-eight meeting with Juan Martin Del Potro or Gilles Simon.

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

The world number one, playing in his first All England Club quarter-final since finishing runner-up to Djokovic in 2011, then wasted four set points in the second.

The French Open champion will next face Novak Djokovic in a clash of two former champions following the Serbian's success over Kei Nishikori earlier on Wednesday.

Spain's Rafael Nadal celebrates winning his Wimbledon quarter-final match against Argentina's Juan Martin Del Potro in All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club, London, Britain, July 11, 2018. The set stayed on serve until Del Potro secured the first break point for a 4-3 lead. Del Potro, however, opening his shoulders with his feared forehand and blasting a victor that left Nadal gasping on the baseline - and a set down just short of three hours.

Just 90 minutes after defending champion Roger Federer was sensationally knocked out by South African Kevin Anderson, it seemed as if the grasscourt major would lose its top two seeds on the same day as Del Potro took a two-sets-to-one lead. Nadal was 2-1 down after three sets, but rallied to force a decider, before closing out a 7-5, 6-7 (7), 4-6, 6-4, 6-4 win.

'I am very happy the way that I survived a lot of important points in that fifth set.

Soon, Nadal gained the upper hand, shaking off a hard fall onto his back on one point by whipping a cross-court backhand victor on the next to break for a 3-2 lead.

Soon enough, del Potro was down on his belly after one last slip, as Nadal finished off the victory with a volley.

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

"In the end the court was a little bit slippery because the sun goes out and it was humid on the grass", Del Potro added.

"Rafa is a fighter". Raonic hit 31 aces to Isner's 25 but was broken three times, including in the last game of the match.

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