The Spaniard, who had to request the presence of the physiotherapist at the conclusion of the first set, recovered later and will play Kyrgios for the final on Friday
Rafael Nadal is two steps away from enlarging his history and becoming the sixth player capable of winning the first three majors of the course.
After winning the Australian Open and Roland Garros title , the man from Manaco is already in the Wimbledon semifinals after defeating Taylor Fritz 3-6, 7-5, 3-6, 7-5 and 7-6 ( 4), in 4 hours and 20 minutes .
Remember Pete Sampras, seven times Wimbledon champion, Boris Becker, three, and John McEnroe, as many, feet reached the semifinals of the British tournament eight times.
Most Wimnledon semi-finals in the Open Era
Roger Federer 13
Jimmy Connors 11
Novak Djokovic 11
Boris Becker 9
Raphael Nadal 8
John McEnroe 8
Peter Sampras 8
Nadal did not want to give concessions from the first point, breaking his gigantic opponent’s service from the start. He was worth keeping that income to score the initial set.
The Spaniard was clearly aiming at Fritz’s backhand, his biggest hole. What does more damage on grass are the parallel blows and he gave a recital of them.
Taylor went 0-40 to even at three games and rejoin the game. He was saved by Rafa, who couldn’t with the fourth ball of ‘break’. Everything started from scratch.
The North American premiered leadership in scoring with a 4-3 after raising a new breaking ball.
The body language of the champion of 22 greats was not the best. It was touched from time to time at the height of the abdominal where he wears a kinesiotape bandage. It was the prelude to a double fault that gave Fritz 5-3. They reached five consecutive games that allowed him to score the set.
All those disputed by the Yankee in this Wimbledon had fallen on his side. Nadal had lost sets to Fran Cerúndolo and Ricardas Berankis, but always with a comfortable lead in the result.
This time it was his turn to come back and the sky was as gray as his tennis in the last minutes. In the box, Rod Laver, the only tennis player capable of winning all four majors in the same season in the Open Era, watched him closely. David Beckham also stood out in the ‘Royal Box’.
When he was most at the mercy of his rival, Fritz gave away the second game of the continuation with four unforced errors, which of them were rude. Nadal returned to the scene with a 3-0. He was more comfortable returning than serving.
The third and fourth double fault of the second favorite in the table made it 3-2 on a plate . Rafa put his hands to his face, something was not working beyond his racket. Again tie, this time to three.
Nadal’s problems on serve were becoming more and more evident. However, he was still in the fight. The first services went to 162 kilometers per hour. He had decided to play percentage .
He requested the presence of the physical therapist, who quickly took him to the locker room . The risk of a withdrawal was on the table. But he was winning 4-3 and he was going to try until the end as he has always done throughout his career .
Father Sebasiià asks him to leave
From the Spaniard’s bench, his father Sebastià indicated with his arms that it was better to leave him. Winning in four or five sets seemed like a utopia . In his memory, the physical doubts with which he had faced the tournament because of his left foot . Although today the injury was different. It was something at the level of the abdominal that he had not wanted to talk about being immersed in the competition.
Fritz waited patiently on the grass, thinking he was closer than ever to his first ‘Grand Slam’ semi-final.
Nadal kept playing and risking his physique while he looked at his team out of the corner of his eye. He was assured of sudden death. That was the frontier: winning was continuing and losing the ‘tie break’ invited surrender . But he is so good and competitive that he won the set before.
Nine retirements as a professional
He had retired nine times in his career in the middle of a game . It is not something that he likes and to find the last of them he had to go to the semifinals of the 2018 US Open with Juan Martín del Potro by the knee.
The Wimbledon headquarters had become an infirmary and now it was Fritz who demanded attention for his left thigh. The American gained an advantage in the third round and knew how to maintain it until the end.
” We wait a bit “, Rafa told the physiotherapist in his new appearance on the track. He was not going to take out the white flag before time in the cathedral of tennis.
Fritz energized his opponent again by giving up his first serve in the fourth set . The stage fright of beating one of the greats in history played in favor of Nadal.
The left ones were the new resource to lengthen the outcome and shorten the exchanges. He was still setting the pace 3-1. He tried, he wallowed in the face of adversity. He equaled two sets.
The two-time Wimbledon winner went from limping to running as a junior . His doctor, Ángel Ruiz Cotorro, smiled while he spoke with Maria, Rafa’s wife, who had come from Mallorca for the occasion.
It was the 49th game running out of sleeves on his resume, with a record of 25 wins and 13 losses .
Nadal had a 15-40 and then two leads for 4-3 and serve. He got it on the last try. When he was closest to victory, he conceded his eighth break. He did not fail in the decisive 10 – point sudden death where he lost four points . He awaits Nick Kyrgios and a recovery against the clock.