ATP Wimbledon: Rafael Nadal edges del Potro to set Novak Djokovic clash!

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ATP Wimbledon: Rafael Nadal edges del Potro to set Novak Djokovic clash!

World number 1 Rafael Nadal has reached his first Wimbledon semi-final since 2011 and the 28th overall, becoming the fifth player in the Open era with so many Grand Slams after an epic 7-5 6-7 4-6 6-4 6-4 triumph over Juan Martin del Potro in four hours and 48 minutes! It was their 16th meeting and the second in a month, battling in the semi-final of Roland Garros as well.

Rafa has scored his 11th win over the Argentinian and this was his 34th win of the season in 36 matches in 2018. Both players have settled into a nice rhythm in the opening set and it was Nadal who kept a high level in the entire set, serving at 75% and losing only eight points on serve, avoiding deuces or tie breaks to keep the pressure on Delpo.

The Argentinian saved two break points in game eight but he fell short just before the tie break, allowing Nadal to convert a break point in game 12 for a 7-5. 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.

Del Potro refused to surrender, breaking back in game 10 to level the score at 5-5 and he saved four set points in the tie break, climbing back from 3-6 down to steal the set 9-7 and make a huge roar of relief, ready to fight until the very last point.

The third set produced more high-quality tennis and Nadal was the first who crumbled under pressure, losing serve at love at 4-5 to drop another set and face an elimination. The Spaniard raised his level in set number four, losing just six points on serve and breaking Juan Martin at love in game five to gain the crucial lead, creating two set points on the return at 5-3.

Del Potro repelled them both but Rafa held at 15 in the following game, clinching the set 6-4 and sending this amazing encounter into a decider. A former champion saved more strength for the final set, breaking del Potro in game five and saving two break points in the following game to move 4-2 up and cement his break.

In one of the best games of the tournament, Rafa saved three break points in game eight to stay in front and he sealed the deal with a hold in game 10, setting the blockbuster semi-final clash with Novak Djokovic on Friday.

Quarter-final results: