Published: Thu, July 12, 2018
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Juan Martin Del Potro scraps past Simon to set up Nadal clash

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

With world number one Rafael Nadal waiting for the victor, Tuesday's fourth set, played in much cooler conditions than the first three the day before, turned into a mini-epic before Del Potro eventually prevailed 7-6 (1) 7-6 (5) 5-7 7-6 (5).

Nadal carved out the crucial break in the opening set for a 6-5 lead and claimed the opener off a Del Potro backhand error. The final set there were some incredible points.

The French Open champion will next face Novak Djokovic in a clash of two former champions following the Serbian's success over Kei Nishikori earlier on Wednesday.

A magnificent sliced backhand victor put the two-time Wimbledon champion a set away from the quarter-finals, but a rare unforced error from Nadal handed Vesely a first break.

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. Visily broke Nadal midway through to provoke familiar concerns that a turnaround could strike but Nadal broke back immediately and sealed victory with his third match point to triumph 6-3, 6-3, 6-4.

Del Potro was straining to stay in touch in almost every point, and his gambling instincts drove him to explore the white lines.

After two-and-a-half hours, Nadal had soaked up 19 Del Potro aces and they were still a set-all and three-all, the Argentinian ahead in the serving cycle again and doing his best to grind Nadal into the grass.


Nadal, whose 17 Grand Slam titles are eclipsed by Federer's 20 and the 23 owned by Williams, did not disappoint in the late afternoon sunshine as he dissected fellow left-hander Vesely with a typically rumbustious display.

"I think it was great quality tennis and in the final set there were some incredible points", said 2008 and 2010 champion Nadal.

"Rafa is a fighter".

Nadal maintained his typically aggressive approach and was leaping while punching the air after a blistering return whistled past Vesely to put him a break up at 3-2 in the second set.

"Against Rafa", del Potro said, "you must go for winners all the time".

Isner has yet to be broken at this year's tournament and saved the only break point he faced.

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