Rafael Nadal displayed tremendous mental toughness to defeat American 11th seed Taylor Fritz in a final set tiebreaker and maintain his chances of winning a calendar year Grand Slam.
Despite appearing to be close to giving up the match on Centre Court due to an abdominal injury, Rafael Nadal prevailed against Fritz, 24, in four hours and twenty minutes by scores of 3-6, 7-5, 3-6, 7-5, and 7-6 (10-4) to advance to the semifinals where he will face Australian outlaw Nick Kyrgios.
Fritz overcame an early hole to blitz through the opening set, winning five straight games from 1-3, 0-30 down.
Fritz defeated Nadal in the final at Indian Wells to halt the Spaniard’s 20-match winning streak at the start of the 2022 season.
The 36-year-old Nadal, who for the first time in his career won the Australian and French Open championships back-to-back this year, left the court for a medical time-out due to an abdominal problem while his father pleaded with him from the player’s box to end his suffering.
In the seventh game, Nadal took the lead after converting his fourth breakpoint with the crowd solidly behind him.
He then turned to face his player’s box. However, Fritz fought back once more to set up a reasonable 10-point tiebreaker.