Nadal edges del Potro in 5-set Wimbledon thriller

12 July, 2018, 05:42 | Author: Brenda Erickson
  • Dream team Five years earlier Novak Djokovic Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer in 2013 in New York City

Every single set was hard-earned, with Nadal taking the first 7-5 before Del Potro evened things up on a tiebreak in the second. In the next game, Nadal staved off two break points, the first when he used his never-give-up-on-a-ball defence to stretch a point and del Potro pushed a forehand way long.

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.

Del Potro trailed 1-3 but at 5-5 he fired down a swinging ace to reach match point number five and this time Simon cracked, netting a backhand to the relief of the Argetine who roared his approval.

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.

Nadal, whose 17 Grand Slam titles are eclipsed by Federer's 20 and the 23 owned by Williams, did not disappoint in the late afternoon sunshine as he dissected fellow left-hander Vesely with a typically rumbustious display.

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.

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Del Potro was in danger of being dragged into a fifth set when he squandered four match points, one with a double-fault, at 5-4 having hit back from 1-3 down.

There was a look of glee in Del Potro's sometimes sad eyes, and his lumbering between-points walk had a bit more energy to it. Nadal, struggling to get a solid second serve into hard areas, was de-fanged for long stretches. A blistering, nearly joyous whipped forehand sealed the set for Nadal and they went to a fifth.

The powerful Vesely broke for a 3-2 lead when a rare Nadal forehand error drew gasps of surprise from the crowd.

" I think it was great quality tennis".

The 33-year-old Simon saved a fourth match point when he threw the kitchen sink at a forehand return and the world number 53 eventually took his fourth break point to level at 5-5.

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