Wednesday, 20 February, 2019

Juan Martin Del Potro scraps past Simon to set up Nadal clash

Juan Martin del Potro GETTYJuan Martin del Potro was left gutted to have lost in five sets
Kristopher Love | 12 July, 2018, 12:42

Nothing could separate them in the first eight games of the second set as well and Rafa drew first blood in game nine, taking a 5-4 lead and serving for the set in the following game.

Soon, Nadal gained the upper hand, shaking off a hard fall onto his back on one point by whipping a cross-court backhand victor on the next to break for a 3-2 lead.

Del Potro repelled them both but Rafa held at 15 in the following game, clinching the set 6-4 and sending this unbelievable encounter into a decider.

As Nadal looks ahead to the semi-finals, Del Potro heads for his next tournament.

In chess, the Ruy Lopez, or Spanish opening, is created to break down an opponent's pawn defence bit by bit, and the man from Mallorca was determined to do just that to the Argentinian, peppering him with hard questions on either flank.

Del Potro too noted the change in conditions but appeared to relish the chance to slide around a bit more on the grass. Eventually, things went to a tiebreak Del Potro won to capture the set.

One such chase left Nadal toppling into the arms of a stunned woman sitting in the front row as he failed to put on the breaks as he dashed after a Del Potro smash. He needed something to shift the momentum back his way. Yet, to everyone's surprise, Del Potro also started to motor, as he hurtled across the turf, crashing on to it occasionally like a young Boris Becker.

Nadal slipped mid-court twice in the fifth game, but stayed upright to break with a cracking angled backhand.

Nadal will face Novak Djokovic next in a rematch of the 2011 final, the last time the Spaniard had even made the quarterfinals at the All England Club.

'I am very happy the way that I survived a lot of important points in that fifth set.

The crowd were on their feet when Del Potro took off to end a magnificent point with a diving volley in a marathon third game, yet Nadal got the break with a sublime cross-court victor in the next service game.

John Isner has reached his first Grand Slam semi-final on his 41st appearance.

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.