Published: Thu, July 12, 2018
Sport | By Cameron Gross

Nadal survives thriller to down Del Potro in quarter-finals

Nadal survives thriller to down Del Potro in quarter-finals

Argentina's Juan Martin del Potro earned himself a chance to set the record straight against Rafael Nadal after sealing a place in the Wimbledon quarter-finals on Tuesday.

Victory helped Del Potro advance to the last eight at the All England Club for the first time since 2013 and it is the first time since in 2012 that he has qualified for the last eight at consecutive Grand Slams.

The timing of this one - a match that's decider was described by Andy Murray in the BBC commentary box as "one of the best sets of tennis I have ever seen live" - was somewhat unfortunate as it clashed with England's World Cup semi-final.

'I feel sorry for Juan Martin. He's an wonderful opponent and awesome player.

A good start to the match felt key for Del Potro, who was forced to play on both Monday and Tuesday against Gilles Simon in a four-and-a-half-hour last-16 tie.

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The England regular spoke highly of fellow midfielders Luka Modric and Ivan Rakitic along with Liverpool team-mate Dejan Lovren . Both of those runs ended in defeats on penalties, but there is a belief that something could be different this time.

It was not as if Nadal was playing badly as he had lost only nine points on serve before heading into the ninth game of the second set.

Del Potro looked flat as he was broken to trail 3-1 but he clawed his way back to lead 5-4 with his serve to come. "If I want to beat him, I have to come to the net very often and play hard with my forehands, with my backhands".

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.

Simon failed to convert a break point, then a third match point for Del Potro ended with him netting a forehand. A stunning 24-shot rally ended with Del Potro pulling off the most sublime diving volley and avoiding facing a break point.

On match point, he serve-and-volleyed into Del Potro's backhand but had an open court in which to play the victor after his opponent slipped behind the baseline.

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