Resilient Rafael Nadal edges Fritz thriller to reach Wimbledon semi-finals

Jonathan Davies in Wimbledon 06 Jul 2022
Rafa Nadal returns to action (Credit: UPI/Alamy Live News)

Rafael Nadal rallied through to the Wimbledon semi-finals after beating Taylor Fritz in a nail-biting fifth-set tie-break on Wednesday.

The 22-time Grand Slam champion maintained his perfect quarter-final record at SW19; making it eight wins from eight as he prevailed 3-6 7-5 3-6 7-5 7-6(4) in an epic encounter that lasted four hours and 21 minutes.

But it proved a constant struggle on Centre Court for the Spaniard, who appeared on the brink of defaulting on numerous occasions.

Nadal has captured the Australian Open and French Open crowns this season despite an ongoing foot injury, while a rib issue threatened his hopes of completing a Calendar Slam in 2022.

He appeared to be struggling early on as first-time Slam quarter-finalist Fritz reeled off five successive games from 3-1 down in the opening set – including 11 of the last 12 points from deuce at 3-3 – to draw first blood.

The Eastbourne champion was appearing in the last eight having not dropped a single set; becoming the first American to do so at Wimbledon since Andy Roddick in 2007.

But that streak ended as Nadal replied. Although, the Spaniard looked uncomfortable and called for a medical timeout upon the conclusion of the second.

Fritz, who prevailed when they previously met in the Indian Wells showpiece in March, capitalised to take the third set 6-3 and move to the brink of ending his opponent’s 18-match winning streak in Grand Slam events this year.

Nevertheless, the two-time Wimbledon winner dug deep to force a deciding set and subsequent tie-break.

And despite having recorded just five aces to his opponent’s 19 while looking increasingly uncomfortable as the contest wore on, he somehow dominated the tie-break 10-4 to seal a remarkable victory.

His reward is a showdown with Nick Kyrgios, who will appear in his maiden career Slam semi-final after beating Cristian Garin in straight sets.

Garin had recovered from two sets down to defeat Kyrgios’ compatriot Alex De Minaur in the previous round and become the first Chilean to reach the quarter-finals of a Slam since Francisco Gonzalez at the 2009 US Open.

But he was outclassed on this occasion by the world number 40, who became the lowest-ranked player to reach the Wimbledon last four since 2008 – and first male from Australia to do so since Lleyton Hewitt three years earlier.

Over in the Ladies’ draw, Simona Halep continued her dominant run with a commanding 6-2 6-4 win over Amanda Anisimova.

The 2019 champion recorded her 12th straight victory at the All England Club – the longest streak since Serena Williams’ run of 20 between 2015 and 2018 – and she is yet to drop a set this year.

Standing in her way of a place in the final is Elena Rybakina after the 17th seed came from behind to beat Ajla Tomljanovic 4-6 6-2 6-3.

The Kazakhstani ace registered her eighth win in nine matches at SW19 as she became the first player from her nation – male or female – to reach the last four of a Slam.

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Wimbledon 2022 Day 10 Results

Wednesday July 6

Quarter-Finals

Centre Court
Simona Halep 6-2 6-4 Amanda Anisimova
Taylor Fritz 6-3 5-7 6-3 5-7 6-7(4) Rafael Nadal

No.1 Court
Ajla Tomljanovic 6-4 2-6 3-6 Elena Rybakina
Cristian Garín 4-6 3-6 6-7(5) Nick Kyrgios

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