Nadal survives marathon match to edge Del Porto in five-set thriller
Rafael Nadal escaped from a marathon match on the main pitch to reach the semi-finals of the Wimbledon tennis tournament with a 7-5, 6-7, 4-6, 6-4, 6-4 win over Juan Martin del Potro on Wednesday.
90 minutes after defeating defending champion Roger Federer to South Africa’s Kevin Anderson on Wednesday. It seemed as if the grasscourt major would lose its top two seeds as Argentine Del Potro took a two-sets-to-one lead.
It was a very emotional match… great quality tennis, especially in the last set there were some amazing points. Sorry to Juan Martin, he’s an amazing opponent an amazing player. In some ways he deserves victory too,” a gasping Nadal said after setting up a blockbuster semi-final with Novak Djokovic.
“The last set had a little bit of everything, great points, great rallies, he was hitting crazy with his forehands. I tried to resist, maintaining focus. It’s a day to be happy.”
“Rafa is a fighter. I was close to beating him and I couldn’t. 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.
“He deserved to win today. After almost five hours, I fell down. I wanted to stay there for all night long. But Rafa came to me and we shared a big hug, and it was kind of him.”
Nadal was not playing badly as he lost only nine points on his shot before the ninth game in the second set.
But before the start of the game, the huge scoreboard on the pitch showed the result of Federer’s game and his sudden departure from the tournament, and the Spanish player appeared to be affected by the loss.
After Nadal lost four points to settle the group in the third set tiebreak and made a double mistake in one of them, Del Potro took advantage of the opportunity to approach another surprise bombing on the ninth day of the tournament.
But the second seed kept his hopes of winning the fourth set before the excitement continued in the playoffs.
Nadal ended the four-hour marathon and 48 minutes with a backhand strike on Del Potro, who was lying on his face.
The Spaniard will meet in the semifinals with Serbian Novak Djokovic.