Rafael Nadal edges Juan Martin del Porto in Wimbledon quarterfinals

Rafael Nadal edges Juan Martin del Porto in Wimbledon quarterfinals

A few hours after Roger Federer's exit from the championships, the player most observers expected to be waiting for the defending champion across the net in Sunday's final, Rafael Nadal, continued in that direction with a five-set win of the highest quality over Juan Martín del Potro under a mellowing night sky on Centre Court.

Nadal fought back, from two sets to one down, to somehow defeat fifth seed Del Potro, who served 33 aces, 7-5, 6-7 (7), 4-6, 6-4, 6-4 in four hours and 52 minutes - the longest match of this year's tournament.

To add to his frustration, the match was postponed due to bad light when del Potro, the No. 5 seed and a former semi-finalist at All England Club, was leading 7-6 7-6 5-7 against Simon.

Nadal and Djokovic have met 51 times in their illustrious careers, the Serbian having the edge over his rival with 26 victories, though he has lost their last two encounters, both on clay.

He reached the semifinals at the All England Club in 2013, but four wrist surgeries - three on the left - nearly made him retire. Djokovic, a 12-time major champ whose resume includes three trophies at the All England Club, advanced earlier Wednesday with a four-set victory over Kei Nishikori that didn't require almost as much energy or effort as what followed on Centre Court. In some ways he deserves to win as well. I just asked him whether he thought honestly that I damaged the court with the racket. Del Potro said. "My body feels OK".

The two-time victor will meet Novak Djokovic in the last four on Friday.

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"If I want to beat him, I have to come to the net very often and play hard with my forehands, with my backhands, and try to take all the chances". Eventually, things went to a tiebreak Del Potro won to capture the set.

Given the fact he withdrew from a pre-Wimbledon event with a groin concern and called the trainer during his match with Simon, Del Potro's fitness could be a factor.

It was not as if Nadal was playing badly. He played well. I believe I increased a little bit the level in the fourth and the fifth. Great match, emotional match for both of us and for the fans, too.

Isner's retort: "I'm taller than him".

Cotorro said: 'What you note the most the following day is the muscle fatigue, because these courts are very exigent, you play in unusual areas. "I play Los Cabos in Mexico, the beach (smiling)", he said.

Nadal said: "There is no other match in the history of tennis that has been played more than our matches".

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