Wimbledon: Rafael Nadal marches into last eight
by JOVICA ILIC | VIEW 3640
The 22-time Major champion Rafael Nadal is through to his eighth Wimbledon quarter-final and the third in a row. The Spaniard played well in the fourth round and took down Botic Van De Zandschulp 6-4, 6-2, 7-6 in two hours and 21 minutes for his 57th Wimbledon triumph.
Rafa defeated Botic a couple of weeks ago at Roland Garros, and he had the upper hand again on Centre Court. The closing stages of the third set aside, Nadal tamed his strokes nicely and continued where he left against Lorenzo Sonego in the previous round.
The Spaniard competed on a high level on serve and return, serving well and keeping the pressure on the other side. The Dutch player struggled on the second serve and failed to impose his strokes after spraying over 30 unforced errors.
Nadal tamed his strokes nicely and got broken only twice. A two-time Wimbledon winner seized five out of 11 break points to control the scoreboard and sail into the last eight, where he plays against Taylor Fritz.
Rafael Nadal is through to his eighth Wimbledon quarter-final.
Rafa served at 77% in the opener and dropped six points behind the initial shot.
Without anything to work with on the return, Van De Zandschulp avoided an early setback and played well until 4-5. Nadal broke him in game ten to wrap up the set and gain a boost. Both players struggled to find the first serve in the second set, and no one could notice that in Nadal's games.
The Spaniard dropped six points behind the initial shot and defended one break point to keep the pressure on the other side. Nadal fended off that break point in the opening game and broke the rival in the next one to move in front.
Rafa served well in the next three service games to open a 5-2 gap and grabbed another break in game eight after the rival's double fault to gain a 6-4, 6-2 lead in an hour and 20 minutes. Suddenly, Nadal got broken from 40-0 up at the start of the third set to push the rival in front.
The Spaniard pulled it back in game two and delivered three comfortable holds after that. The pressure was on Van De Zandschulp, and he could not endure it. Rafa broke Botic in game six and held at love in the next one to forge a 5-2 advantage and race towards the finish line.
Nadal served for the victory in game nine but got broken at 15 to keep the rival alive. Van De Zandschulp used the opportunity and held with ease twice to introduce a tie break. Rafa built an early lead and created three match points at 6-3.
Botic denied the first two to reduce the deficit, and Rafa sprayed a backhand error on the third for 6-6. Nadal earned the fourth match point with a service winner and seized it after a smash error from his rival to advance into the next round.