Wimbledon 2018: Rafael Nadal Ends Seven-Year Wait To Return To Quarter-Finals

Updated: 10 July 2018 00:15 IST

Rafael Nadal, 32, went into a 35th Grand Slam quarter-final.

Wimbledon 2018: Rafael Nadal Ends Seven-Year Wait To Return To Quarter-Finals
Nadal has made four successive quarter-finals © AFP

Rafael Nadal closed in on a dream Wimbledon final as the sport's one of the greatest player swept into the last-eight on Monday. World number one Nadal, the two-time champion, reached his first quarter-final at Wimbledon since 2011 -- when he went on to finish runner-up -- with a 6-3, 6-3, 6-4 win over Jiri Vesely of the Czech Republic. Nadal, like Federer yet to drop a set, routed world number 93 Vesely on the eve of the Czech player's 25th birthday. Monday's win took Nadal, 32, into a 35th Grand Slam quarter-final.

"It was an important victory as since 2011 I have not been in the quarter-finals of Wimbledon. So it's an important moment," said Nadal, the 17-time Grand Slam champion who has made four successive quarter-finals at the majors for the first time in six years.

"He started to play better from the base line, I made a couple of mistakes in the service game I lost (at 3-4 in the third set) but I feel I came back straight away. That was key."

Next up for Nadal is either Juan Martin del Potro, the fifth seeded Argentine, or unseeded Gilles Simon of France.

He has a 10-5 winning record against del Potro and 8-1 over Simon.

Three-time champion Novak Djokovic, seeded a lowly 12 this year, can make his 10th Wimbledon quarter-final if he defeats unseeded Karen Khachanov, the world number 40 from Russia.

The winner of that clash will take on Kei Nishikori, who overcame a right arm injury to reach his first Wimbledon quarter-final with a gritty 4-6, 7-6 (7/5), 7-6 (12/10), 6-1 win over Latvian qualifier Ernests Gulbis.

"It's always like big war for me when I play Novak. I always enjoy playing against him. It's always a big challenge," said Nishikori, who has beaten the Serb just twice in 15 meetings.

The 28-year-old Nishikori is the first Japanese man to reach the quarter-finals at Wimbledon since Shuzo Matsuoka in 1995.

Nishikori needed lengthy treatment and a medical timeout on his arm injury in the first set and had to save two set points in the third.

Gulbis, ranked 130 and who came through qualifying, had shocked fourth seeded German Alexander Zverev in the third round.

But having played three successive five-set matches in the main draw to get this far, he ran out of steam.

American ninth seed John Isner also reached his first Wimbledon quarter-final with a 6-4, 7-6 (10/8), 7-6 (7/4) win over Greek teenager Stefanos Tsitsipas.

Isner, 33, will be playing in his first quarter-final at the majors since the 2011 US Open when he faces former Wimbledon finalist Milos Raonic.

Raonic fired 37 aces and 74 winners to defeat Mackenzie McDonald of the United States and reach the quarter-finals for the fourth time.

The 27-year-old Canadian, runner-up to Andy Murray in 2016, triumphed 6-3, 6-4, 6-7 (5/7), 6-2.

The 13th seed won all 20 of his service games.

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Topics : Rafael Nadal Tennis
Highlights
  • Nadal, 32, went into a 35th Grand Slam quarter-final
  • Nadal has made four successive quarter-finals
  • Next up for Nadal is either del Potro or Gilles Simon
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