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Rafael Nadal beats Del Potro to set up semi final clash against Novak Djokovic

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Rafael Nadal defeated Juan Martin Del Potro in a hard fought five set encounter on centre court on Thursday. The clay king won 7-5, 6-7(7-9), 4-6, 6-4, 6-4 to book a semi final berth in Wimbledon 2018.

Rafael Nadal had to wait for seven long years to reach the semi finals of Wimbledon. He last featured in 2011 and since then it hasn’t gone that well for the Spaniard.

Also read: Wimbledon 2018: Novak Djokovic beats Kei Nishikori to reach semis

Juan Martin Del Potro, who also lost to Nadal in the semi-finals of the French Open, bounced back from a set down to claim a tie break in the second set. He dominated for much of the third set to take the lead at two sets to one. But Nadal broke through the fourth to put pressure back on the former US Open champion and force a fifth and final set.

It was evenly balanced and difficult to call between the two. Rafael Nadal even happened to jump into the crowd at one point during a rally, and saved five break points in the final set. He broke midway through the final set and held his nerve from there on to set up his sixth Wimbledon semi final.

“I think it was great quality tennis and in the final set there were some amazing points. Sorry to Juan Martin, he’s an amazing opponent and player. In some ways he deserves to win as well. Anything could have happened, so this is a big achievement for me to get to the semi-finals at Wimbledon. In the last set there was a little of everything, great points, great rallies, he was hitting crazy with his forehands.”, said the two time Wimbledon champion.

The Spanish second seed will play 12-time Grand Slam champion Novak Djokovic in the semi-finals.