Nadal to face Djokovic after beating Del Potro in epic

Jose Verdugo
Julio 12, 2018

With world number one Rafael Nadal waiting for the victor, Tuesday's fourth set, played in much cooler conditions than the first three the day before, turned into a mini-epic before Del Potro eventually prevailed 7-6 (1) 7-6 (5) 5-7 7-6 (5).

Then Del Porto managed to hold serve to love, forcing Nadal to serve out the match, which he did, winning it 6-4 to reach his sixth semi-final.

That came at a key moment in the third set, which was a tougher examination of Nadal than the initial two.

In a match filled with entertaining rallies between two of the biggest hitters in the game, Nadal came from a set down to win 7-5, 6-7 (7), 4-6, 6-4, 6-4 in 4 hours, 48 minutes - the longest match of this year's tournament. He saved another break point to inch closer to the semi-final, but just couldn't put Del Potroaway during a terrific and gruelling fifth set.

The fourth-round match resumed on Tuesday afternoon after bad light had stopped play on Monday with the Argentinian leading by two sets to one.

The deciding fifth set was a tight battle, but in the fifth game, Nadal got the solitary break to lead 3-2.

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In the next set, Del Potro broke and served for the set at 5-4, but double-faulted and Nadal clinched the break-back with a forehand victor down the line for the second set to be decided by a tiebreaker.

Del Potro too noted the change in conditions but appeared to relish the chance to slide around a bit more on the grass.

"Rafa is a fighter", del Potro said. Eventually, things went to a tiebreak Del Potro won to capture the set. He went 4-3 in front, before closing out the set to increase the pressure on Nadal.

As he served out to reach his sixth semi-final, his old sparring partner, Andy Murray, newly installed in the BBC commentary box, declared the quality of tennis in the fifth set "the best I've seen in the tournament so far".

Simon saved a fourth match point when he threw the kitchen sink at a forehand return and he eventually took his fourth break point to level at 5-5. Raonic hit 31 aces to Isner's 25 but was broken three times, including the last game of the match.

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