Warrior Nadal downs Del Potro in thriller to reach semi-finals

Juan Martin del Potro

Now Nadal will face longtime rival Novak Djokovic in the semifinals Friday.

That mishap could not stop Nadal from reaching his sixth Wimbledon semi-final and he celebrated the moment by raising both arms up into the skies after four hours and 48 minutes of thrilling action.

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.

In the next set, Del Potro broke and served for the set at 5-4, but double-faulted and Nadal clinched the break-back with a forehand victor down the line for the second set to be decided by a tiebreaker.

In a match that delivered quality throughout, Nadal recovered from two sets to one down to treat the Wimbledon crowd to a match few will forget.

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. I wanted to stay there for all night long. Nadal took him to deuce but couldn't nail the break and they went to the shootout, where, against all likelihood, Nadal double-faulted on set point.

And Nadal rued failing to take control against del Potro much earlier.

The world number one, playing in his first All England Club quarter-final since finishing runner-up to Djokovic in 2011, then wasted four set points in the second. There were no service breaks until the tenth game where Del Porto beat Nadal with a forehand victor to get the service break and set, 6-4.

Del Potro too noted the change in conditions but appeared to relish the chance to slide around a bit more on the grass.

Del Potro raised his game again, though, claiming his third tie-break success of the match to book his date with Nadal.

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

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.

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

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