Spain’s Rafael Nadal defeated Juan Martin del Potro to reach the Wimbledon semi-finals. This is his first semifinal clash since 2011.
The two-time Wimbledon champion won 7-5 6-7 (7-9) 4-6 6-4 6-4, mere hours after Roger Federer lost to Kevin Anderson in his quarterfinal.
The Spaniard staged a come back from a set down before breaking in the fifth set to win in almost five hours.
The Spanish second seed will next face off against another arch-rival Novak Djokovic in the semi-finals.
Nadal is on the hunt for his third Wimbledon title and second Grand Slam of the year. The 17-time Grand Slam champion is the new favourite to win the tournament following Federer’s shock exit.
The fifth seed, had also lost to Nadal in the semi-finals of the French Open. This time, he bounced back from a set down to claim a closely-contested tie-break in the second.
Del Potro kept Nadal honest during the third set before finally forcing a late break of serve to take the lead at two sets to one.
But Nadal found another gear in the fourth to put the pressure back on the former US Open champion and force a fifth set.
The two were evenly matched until the very end. Nadal even jumped into the crowd at one point during a rally, and saved five break points in the final set. He broke midway through the final set and held his nerve from there to set up his sixth Wimbledon semi-final.
Del Potro too fought till the very end. Even after losing the first set many thought that he would be outclassed. But he remained on level terms and then got his nose in front.
But Rafa’s resilience and intensity made all the difference.
Fellow tennis player Andy Murray said, It was a great match that got better and better. That fifth set is one of the best sets I have ever seen.
Both played at such a high level, huge hitting and we saw great touch too. It was a great match and I felt very lucky to watch that.
Here’s how Twitter reacted to the match.
A. Fucking. King. That was just….crazy, unbelievable, amazing, gut wrenching, etc. Congrats, @rafaelnadal, for never giving up, for always believing, for always fighting. You deserved this ovation. 👏🏾🇪🇸 pic.twitter.com/J4u64febHP
— natalie (@_naterzzzz) July 11, 2018
— Raemon Sluiter (@raemonsluiter) July 11, 2018
Absolutely fantastic Match ❤️🎾❤️ Well done Rafa I love you so much, Felt a tad sad for Delpo as like him too but I love Rafa!
— Teresa Benson (@teresadee62) July 11, 2018
You were right, hardluck mate. Wish @RafaelNadal luck to win it this time 😄.
— Khalil Ibrahim 🇫🇷 (@Zid5ane) July 11, 2018
Vamos @RafaelNadal I am pulling for you to get this 3rd Wimbledon🏆🎾. Great fight today to get the win against a worthy opponent!
— B L🔥T (@btlittleton) July 11, 2018
— Rob Price (@Price19Rob) July 11, 2018
Personally, I’ll probably opt to watch the #Wimbledon men’s tennis final – hopefully it will finish in time to watch the #WorldCup final but given @Merton_Council is the home of tennis 🎾 it takes priority. Hopefully @RafaelNadal will win his 3rd title. https://t.co/aYdMCEZoNt
— Martin Whelton (@MartinWhelton) July 11, 2018
Sorry for Delpo, of course cause i love him and as a nolefam (lol) i was supporting him, but happy that Novak will face Rafa in wimbledon, thing that don't happen often, since this's the first semi-final for Rafa since 2011( the year Djokovic was the champion 😉
— chaima (@ChaaimaS) July 11, 2018
Now that’s a match I wanna watch ! https://t.co/yfQ89mZ28R
— taapsee pannu (@taapsee) July 11, 2018
— Amanda Renee (@amIabutterfly) July 11, 2018