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Del Potro scraps past Simon to set up Nadal clash

Del Potro scraps past Simon to set up Nadal clash

Nadal described Wednesday's showdown as a combination of "suffering" and "enjoyment" but he was mightily relieved he came back from two-sets-to-one down to reach the semi-finals for the first time since 2011.

Only a spirited fightback from Nadal saved the Spaniard from suffering a similar five-set fate to Federer, the world No.1 scraping past Juan Martin del Potro 7-5 6-7 (7-9) 4-6 6-4 6-4 in a Centre Court classic.

When he lost in the French Open quarter-finals to world number 72 Marco Cecchinato last month, he even suggested he was ready to skip Wimbledon this year as his ranking slipped to 22, his lowest since August 2006.

"Rafa is a fighter", del Potro said. But Rafa came to me and we made a big hug, and it was kind of him. "After nearly five hours of running and playing at this high level against the No. 1 in the world and lost, it's not good for me".

"My results were not up to the standard that I had before", said Djokovic after beating Kei Nishikori in the quarter-finals.

One of those was on double fault in the tiebreak and the giant Argentine pounced to level the tie. In the next game, Nadal staved off two break points, the first when he used his never-give-up-on-a-ball defense to stretch a point and del Potro pushed a forehand way long.

The timing of this one - a match that's decider was described by Andy Murray in the BBC commentary box as "one of the best sets of tennis I have ever seen live" - was somewhat unfortunate as it clashed with England's World Cup semi-final.

A tired Del Potro, a semi-finalist in 2013, finished with 33 aces and 77 winners but even those impressive statistics were not enough.

"At the moment I'm feeling sad", del Porto told reporters. I knew I was in a good spot.

"Obviously I'm very ecstatic to get through that match", Anderson said.

Isner leads their head to head 8-3, and he has won their last five meetings; the last time Anderson turned the tables against his fellow flamethrower was in 2012.

The 33-year-old American maintained a very high level of aggression and confidence to beat Stefanos Tsitsipas and Milos Raonic and reach his first Grand Slam semifinal.

Then, at 4-3, they played an epic 18-point game that featured six deuces and another trio of break points for del Potro, none of which he managed to convert.

After smoothly slicing through his first four matches the five-set struggle over four hours and 47 minutes, the longest of the tournament, was probably Nadal's ideal preparation for Djokovic, who will test his stamina and movement in entirely different ways, with swift changes of direction rather than raw power and, if it is singing, his serve.

"In the last set there was a little of everything, great points, great rallies, he was hitting insane with his forehands".

As Nadal looks ahead to the semi-finals, Del Potro heads for his next tournament.

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