Spanish tennis star Rafael Nadal
Rafael Nadal overcame injury, beating Taylor Fritz and reaching the Wimbledon semifinals for the eighth time on Wednesday to keep his dream of a calendar Grand Slam alive.
The second seeded lost the first set and was forced to take a medical time-out in the second, but upped his game to win 3-6 7-5 3-6 7-5 7-6 (10/4). Game that lasts four hours and 21 minutes.
Nadal, a 22-time Grand Slam champion, will play Australia’s Nick Kyrgios for a spot in Sunday’s final.
He admitted to suffering from abdominal problems.
“For many moments I thought I wouldn’t be able to finish the game, but the crowd, the energy, thank you for that,” said the Spaniard.
“I really enjoy playing games like this in front of you guys. I can’t thank you guys enough for the support.”
A pumped-up Nadal sped off the blocks to take a 3-1 lead but then lost five straight games to the 11th seed to drop the opener.
The players traded breaks in the second set but Nadal didn’t move freely and when he was 4-3 up he sat in his chair and shook his head at his team.
The coach arrived before Nadal left the pitch on a medical time-out to treat his apparent injury.
When he returned, Fritz served to the love with Nadal’s movement still looking hampered.
But the Spaniard held twice to lead 6-5 and a backhand volley into the open court sealed the second set to roar from the crowd.
Nadal, 36, was moving more freely now but the pendulum swung again early in the third set when the two-time Wimbledon winner made a double fault to give his American opponent a break.
The coach returned, this time to attend to the buckling of his Fritz’s left thigh, and the American resumed play and broke again to win the third set.
There were five breaks in an upside-down fourth set as both players struggled for consistency on serve, but Nadal prevailed to level the match.
The opening six games of the deciding set were at serve before Nadal produced a backhand dropshot winner to break after a hard-fought seventh game.
Fritz immediately broke back when Nadal netted with a backhand.
The set went into a tiebreak and Nadal took control, taking a 9-3 lead and completing the win with his second match point.
Nadal, who has already won the Australian Open and French Open this year, is halfway to the first calendar grand slam by a man since Rod Laver in 1969.
He is also bidding to win his 23rd Grand Slam title, tying with Serena Williams for second on the all-time list of most Grand Slam singles titles. Margaret Court leads with 24 titles.
Nadal is braving an injury as he sets up the Wimbledon semi-final against Kyrgios
Source link Nadal is braving an injury as he sets up the Wimbledon semi-final against Kyrgios