Del Potro sets up quarter-final showdown with Nadal

Del Potro sets up quarter-final showdown with Nadal

He must get past three-time champion Novak Djokovic in the semi-finals on Friday for another shot at the title.

In an odd-numbered year, the exit of Roger Federer in a five-set thriller, followed immediately by the triumph of Rafa Nadal in a five-set thriller on Centre Court, would have dominated the sports pages, but unfortunately for tennis fans, England had to go and get to and get beat to Croatia.

For all that Nadal plays tennis as if he had just disturbed a burglar making off with his 17 grand slam trophies, he prefers victory by stealth, sapping opponents of the will to chase.

"I wanted to stay there", del Potro said afterward, "all night long". He squandered the chance to serve out the set and that looked to be costly when he trailed 4-1 in the breaker, but his rival double-faulted on one of four set points as the nerves set in.

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.

"Well, at the moment I´m feeling sad after nearly five hours of running and playing this high level against the No. 1 in the world and losing", added Del Potro.

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The leading four players not already exempt from the top-12 finishers qualified. "The greens were rock hard", Na said. Fox shot 68 to Knox's 66, with Jorge Campillo going round in 65 to finish one off the pace at 13 under.

Nadal started strong on serve to power his way into a 3-2 lead during the opening set. 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 raised his game again, though, claiming his third tie-break success of the match to book his date with Nadal.

There was a look of glee in Del Potro's sometimes sad eyes, and his lumbering between-points walk had a bit more energy to it. Nadal, struggling to get a solid second serve into hard areas, was de-fanged for long stretches.

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

However, Del Potro was made to pay for a sloppy game when he was serving to secure a tiebreak, netting a backhand to go a set down.

Nadal saved a break point at 2-2, then took the lead courtesy of a strong backhand. Raonic hit 31 aces to Isner's 25 but was broken three times, including the last game of the match.

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