Nadal: Novak will be a tough opponent

Order of Play Day 9 Federer Nadal Djokovic in quarter-final action

Order of Play Day 9 Federer Nadal Djokovic in quarter-final action

While Djokovic saw through Kei Nishikori with relative ease, winning the match in 4 sets 6-3, 3-6, 6-2, 6-2, Nadal played one of the best matches of the season so far as he prevailed in 5 sets over Juan Martin Del Potro, winning the match 7-5, 6-7, 4-6, 6-4, 6-4 in over four hours.

"After nearly five hours match, I fell down".

"I was close to beating him and I couldn´t because Rafa always has a little bit more than the rest of the players on tour".

Top-ranked Rafael Nadal outlasted Juan Martin del Potro in a crowd-pleasing five-set duel to reach his first Wimbledon semifinal since 2011.

The world number one then wasted four set points in the second.

Del Potro was thrashed by the Spaniard in the French Open semi-finals last month but feels his game matches up better against the No.1 on grass despite losing their only two meetings on the surface. But back came Nadal to level the tie before an enthralling final set which was punctuated by great shot-making and spectacular dives and falls by both players.

Victory secured, Nadal climbed over the net and ran over to the baseline to help the distraught Del Potro back to his feet.

The second seed, eyeing a third Wimbledon title, with his last triumph at SW19 coming eight years ago, struck 66 winners compared to 77 from Del Potro, who fired down 33 aces in a contest that ebbed and flowed throughout.

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"I wanted to stay there", del Potro said afterward, "all night long".

"It´s not good for me". But maybe after tomorrow when I get home and I watch the match, I will be glad.

World number one Nadal, the 2008 and 2010 champion at the All England Club, trails Djokovic, the 2011, 2014 and 2015 victor, 26-25 in a rivalry which began at Roland Garros 12 years ago.

Incidently, the Nadal versus Del Potro match lasted exactly the same length as Rafa's win against Roger Federer in the 2008 final.

President Cyril Ramaphosa on Thursday led South Africa in congratulating Kevin Anderson after he sensationally knocked Roger Federer out of Wimbledon to become the first South African to reach the semi-finals in 35 years.

"The last set had a little bit of everything, great points, great rallies, he was hitting insane with his forehands".

"I just try to build the momentum".

Del Potro trailed 1-3 but at 5-5 he fired down an ace to reach match point number five and this time Simon cracked, netting a backhand to the relief of the Argentine who roared his approval, happy to conserve energy before taking on Nadal.

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