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Rafael Nadal celebrates defeating Taylor Fritz to reach his eighth Wimbledon semi-final on Wednesday.

Nadal Edges Fritz In Wimbledon Epic

Spaniard to meet Kyrgios in blockbuster semi-final in London

Rafael Nadal’s 2022 Grand Slam story served up another dramatic chapter on Wednesday at Wimbledon, where the Spaniard held off a high-powered performance from Taylor Fritz to reach the semi-finals in London.

The 22-time major champion Nadal left the court for a medical timeout in the second set and appeared to be struggling with an abdominal issue midway through the pair's four-hour, 20-minute quarter-final encounter. Yet the second seed showcased trademark resilience, raising his aggression to keep points short and producing a high-class deciding-set tie-break to seal a 3-6, 7-5, 3-6, 7-5, 7-6(10-4) victory.

“It was a tough afternoon against a great player," said Nadal in his on-court interview. "All the credit to Taylor, he has been playing great during the whole season. From my personal side, it was not an easy match at all, so I’m just very happy to be in the semi-finals.

“The body in general is fine. In the abdominal [area] it is not going well, being honest. I had to find a way to serve a little bit differently, for a lot of moments I was thinking maybe I would not be able to finish the match, but I don’t know. The court, the energy [helped me].”

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Nadal, who won the Australian Open in January and Roland Garros in June, is seeking to keep his bid for the 2022 Grand Slam alive at the grass-court major. His next assignment in London is a semi-final with Nick Kyrgios, after the Australian was a 6-4, 6-3, 7-6(5) winner in his quarter-final matchup against Cristian Garin.

“I hope to be ready to play," said Nadal. "Nick is a great player on all surfaces, but especially here on grass. He’s having a great grass-court season and it’s going to be a big challenge. I need to be at 100% to keep having chances and that’s what I am going to try to do.”

The win against Fritz improved Nadal’s quarter-final record at Wimbledon to 8-0. The two-time champion’s ability to find big shots at big moments was key in what was otherwise an even battle at the All England Lawn Tennis Club. The American converted eight break point opportunities to Nadal’s seven, while both players fired 56 winners in a high-quality display of all-court grass-court tennis.

Wednesday's victory was Nadal's fourth consecutive triumph in a five-set match. He also went the distance this year in wins against Denis Shapovalov and Daniil Medvedev at the Australian Open, and Felix Auger-Aliassime at Roland Garros. The Spaniard's career record in five-setters now stands at 26-13.

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Fritz reeled off five games in a row from 1-3 to clinch the first set as Nadal’s physical struggles undermined what had been a bright start from the Spaniard on Centre Court. Yet despite Nadal still appearing in discomfort, particularly when serving, after his medical time-out at 4-3 in the second set, the second seed stayed aggressive to break Fritz’s serve twice and level the match.

Fritz, bidding to become the youngest American man to reach the semi-finals at Wimbledon since Andy Roddick in 2005, looked to have regained control of the match after he capitalised on some uncharacteristic Nadal errors to break twice and ease to the third set. More solid groundstrokes earned him another break in the opening game of the fourth, but the Spaniard’s tactic of going for his shots continued to pay off as he came out on top in a topsy-turvy fourth set that featured five breaks of serve.

The match remained in the balance throughout an engrossing final set, but it was Nadal who raised his game under the pressure of the deciding-set tie-break. He raced to a 5/0 lead that proved unassailable, sealing a marathon win to avenge his loss to Fritz in the BNP Paribas Open final in Indian Wells in March.

Following Cameron Norrie’s quarter-final victory against David Goffin on Tuesday, Nadal’s win means two left-handers have made the last four at a Grand Slam for the first time since the Spaniard and Jurgen Melzer at Roland Garros in 2010. The last time two lefties reached that stage at Wimbledon was in 1992, when Goran Ivanisevic and John McEnroe made the semi-finals at SW19.

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