wimbledon2011

W: Rafa Faces Fish in Quarters

6/27/2011Rafaholics ™

 

 



by Barry Newcombe

Rafael Nadal filled the last quarter-final spot at Wimbledon when he defeated Juan Martin del Potro of Argentina 7-6(6), 3-6, 7-6(4), 6-4 in a fourth round match that finished on Centre Court after 9pm.
It was a convincing victory in the end for the top seed but he did drop a set for the first time at this year's Championships and raised a question about his fitness during the first set when the trainer came to the court to treat his foot and strapped his ankle.
Del Potro, who is back on the tour after missing 16 months of play because of a wrist injury, also needed medical attention during the match when he fell behind the baseline and for a time was clearly in some pain.

But in the end both men were able to play at full pitch and Nadal was able to progress in The Championships without coming under serious sustained pressure. His quarter-final opponent will be Mardy Fish of the USA, who he has beaten in their five previous matches.

Wimbledon fans clearly appreciated the return of the 6ft 6ins del Potro, who has always been prepared to use his height and weight to his advantage. He played only three events last year because of injury but his skills gave Nadal a proper test and showed he is well on the way back. He is ranked 24th at Wimbledon but that will soon change.
The first set ended on a double fault by him in a tie-break that Nadal won by eight points to six. But del Potro improved in the second set as his forehand began to find more targets. He broke Nadal's serve for a 5-3 lead and then served a love game to square the match.
Nadal led all the way through the third set without ever reaching a break point on del Porto's serve but took the tie-break 7-6. The fourth set turned in the defending champion's favour in the fifth game with a fine forehand down the line from Nadal on the first break point. From then on Nadal was in command and finished with a love game and a double-fisted salute to the crowd.
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