Rafael Nadal edges Juan Martin del Porto in Wimbledon quarterfinals
13 July, 2018, 02:25 | Author: Tommie Newton
Nadal resisted the big heart and forehand of Del Potro in a classic to set up what could be another match to savour in the semi-finals against Novak Djokovic. By the end I felt I did a great job not thinking about things too much.
The Spaniard proved it with a daring chase-down attempt during his win over Juan Martin del Potro overnight, climbing into the stands after trying to reach a ball. But he blew those three set points, the last with a double-fault he later called "a big mistake".
"I just try to build the momentum. It's a day to be happy".
Del Potro fought back, but Nadal held again after the former wasted a break point.
Even then he was left flat on his stomach as his racket went flying out of his hand.
"Rafa is a fighter", del Potro said.
Nadal broke for 3-2 but had to save break points in the sixth and eighth games before securing a memorable victory. It was that kind of match. "Sometimes you play your best tennis and it's not enough to beat him", said the teary-eyed Argentine, who has had the misfortune of running into Nadal at the French Open and Wimbledon championships over the past five weeks.
Most, but not all, signs point to an Isner win in this battle of the geriatric-i.e., over 30-giants. "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 wanted to stay there for all night long.
Isner had never got past the third round at Wimbledon before this year while a run to the last-eight at the 2011 US Open had been his previous best at the majors.
5-7 win over Frenchman Gilles Simon after fading light interrupted their last-16 clash the previous evening with the fifth seed up two sets to one.
It was not as if Nadal was playing badly.
It was as if that out-of-the-blue news threw the Spaniard off his stride and he fluffed his lines to drop his serve.
After claiming the first set by a single break, Nadal lost the next two by tight margins as Del Potro stole the show on Centre Court with acrobatic shot-making and a total of 33 aces behind his serve. Del Potro made him pay as he pounced on his first chance to raise the prospect of another upset on day nine.
Del Potro finished with 77 winners to Nadal's 67 but failed to convert any of his five break points in the fifth set.
I know in the semi-finals of Wimbledon you will not have an easy opponent in front (of you).
A tired Del Potro, a semi-finalist in 2013, finished with 33 aces and 77 winners but even those impressive statistics were not enough.
Del Potro trails Nadal 10-5 in head-to-head meetings - his five wins all coming on hardcourts.
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