Rafa Nadal has reached the quarter finals at Wimbledon for the eighth time and is well on course for his projected final meeting with Novak Djokovic but has to first, get past Taylor Fritz next and then more than likely, the controversial Nick Kyrgios.
In a personal way, after all the things that happened in the last couple of months, to be able to be in the quarter finals here at Wimbledon after three years without playing here, it’s amazing so I’m very, very happy Rafa Nadal
Seeded second behind the Serbian, Nadal won his fourth round match by defeating Holland’s Botic van de Zandschulp 6-4 6-2 7-6(6), completing his win after two hours and 22-minutes which included a late wobble in an otherwise clinical display of tennis.
He was so much in control that he literally took his eye off the ball and suddenly found himself embroiled in a third set tie-break when on the brink of closing the set out!
Until that moment it was basically all Nadal.
He won the first set with just one break of serve. He won the second by claiming two breaks to the Dutchman’s one. A dip in concentration gave Van de Zandschulp an early break in the third but again, he lost the advantage in the next game. Then surprisingly, the Spaniard lost his serve for a third time when he was serving for the match and his frustration at having made such a bad slip, was very visible!
He held on for the tie-break and there three match points slipped by before he finally closed it out, thankfully ahed of the filing light which was fast deteriorating.
“I think I continued in a positive way,” Nadal admitted. “Until the end when I played a bad game at 5-2, it had been a very positive match against a difficult opponent. Honestly, Botic has been improving unbelievable during the last year.
“In a personal way, after all the things that happened in the last couple of months, to be able to be in the quarter finals here at Wimbledon after three years without playing here, it’s amazing so I’m very, very happy.”
Aware that his next challenger would be Fritz, the 11th seed from the US – who has yet to drop a set at The Championships this week – he remarked: “He’s playing well; he’s having [an] amazing year winning first Masters 1000, “ adding with a smile in case anyone didn’t know: “against me by the way, in the final!”
He concluded: “So will be tough match but we are in the quarterfinals of Wimbledon, so what can I expect?”
Rafael Nadal (L) commisorates with Botic Van De Zandschlup after their match
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