Del Potro sets up quarter-final showdown with Nadal

Rafael Nadal Wimbledon

It was a case of down but definitely not out as a Rafael Nadal kept picking himself off a slippery and dusty Centre Court surface to storm into the Wimbledon semi-finals with a pulsating 7-5 6-7 (7) 4-6 6-4 6-4 over Juan Martin del Potro.

Spain's Rafael Nadal celebrates winning his Wimbledon quarter-final match against Argentina's Juan Martin Del Potro in All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club, London, Britain, July 11, 2018.

"I think it was great quality tennis and in the final set there were some incredible points", said 2008 and 2010 champion Nadal.

"Anything could have happened, so this is a big achievement for me to get to the semi-finals at Wimbledon". He's an incredible opponent, an unbelievable player, in some ways he deserves the victory too'.

5-7 win over Frenchman Gilles Simon after fading light interrupted their last-16 clash the previous evening with the fifth seed up two sets to one.

Del Potro responded well and served for the set at 5-4, but the world No. 1 pegged him back again.

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It was not as if Nadal was playing badly as he had lost only nine points on serve before heading into the ninth game of the second set.

Del Potro was in danger of being dragged into a fifth set when he squandered four match points, one with a double-fault, at 5-4 having hit back from 1-3 down.

In the decider, the pair played the point of the tournament. Fortunately he negotiated his landing well after leaping over the barrier between the supporters and the court.

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. After sending Nadal wide with a thumping forehand, he had the court gaping and at his mercy but a terrible shank let the Spaniard off the hook.

The 2009 US Open champion's spirit never died and he set up another three break points but Nadal relentlessly moved just one game away from the semi-finals after a 13-minute game.

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