With irrepressible fighting spirit, Rafael Nadal prevented the end of Wimbledon and reached the semi-finals of the grass classic for the eighth time. The ailing 36-year-old Spaniard won a five-set thriller against US professional Taylor Fritz 4: 6, 7: 5, 3: 6, 7: 5, 7: 6 (10: 4) on Wednesday and stopped the chance a dream final against defending champion Novak Djokovic from Serbia.
“I honestly have a lot of fun in these matches. It was a difficult afternoon against a great player,” said Nadal. Something was wrong in the stomach area. “I had to serve something different. There were moments when I thought I couldn’t finish the match.”
After triumphing at the Australian Open and French Open, Nadal also has the opportunity to win the Grand Slam, winning all four major tournaments in a year. The 22-time Grand Slam tournament winner now meets the controversial Australian Nick Kyrgios, who reached his first Wimbledon semi-final by beating Cristian Garin from Chile 6: 4, 6: 3, 7: 6 (7: 5).
The match was a constant ups and downs for Nadal. At the end of the first set, the Spaniard gave up five games in a row. In the second round, when the score was 4: 3, he had the physiotherapist come and disappeared into the dressing room for treatment. With a pained face, he clutched his stomach and leaned on his bat.
Nadal didn’t look good at all, hardly moved and tried to keep the points as short as possible. But slowly the treatment seemed to work. Fritz seemed insecure, Nadal won the second round with a show of strength and inflicted the first set loss of the tournament on his opponent.
Nadal remained impaired but also dangerous. In the decisive round he got the break to 4:3 with a fine stop, Fritz didn’t give up. In the tie-break, Nadal had the better nerves and was allowed to celebrate after more than four hours.