Top-ranked Rafael Nadal outlasted Juan Martin del Potro in a crowd-pleasing five-set duel to reach his first Wimbledon semifinal since 2011.
In a match filled with entertaining rallies between two of the biggest hitters in the game, Nadal came from a set down to win 7-5, 6-7 (7), 4-6, 6-4, 6-4 in 4 hours, 48 minutes — the longest match of this year’s tournament.
Del Potro finished with 77 winners to Nadal’s 67 but failed to convert any of his five break points in the fifth set. Instead it was the Spaniard who earned the only break of the decider and he closed out the win on his first match point — leaving the fifth-seeded Argentine sprawled on the grass in exhaustion.
Nadal will face Novak Djokovic next in a rematch of the 2011 final, the last time the Spaniard had even made the quarterfinals at the All England Club.
John Isner has reached his first Grand Slam semifinal on his 41st appearance. The hard-serving American beat Milos Raonic of Canada 6-7 (5), 7-6 (7), 6-4, 6-3 to set up a meeting with Kevin Anderson of South Africa in Wimbledon’s last four.
Isner’s 41 attempts to make a semifinal at a major is the second most in the 50-year professional era, behind Sam Querrey, who made the last four at Wimbledon last year with his 42nd try.
Isner has yet to be broken at this year’s tournament and saved the only break point he faced on Wednesday. Raonic hit 31 aces to Isner’s 25 but was broken three times, including the last game of the match.