Almost 24 hours after first appearing on court for his fourth-round match, Juan Martin del Potro finally completed victory over Gilles Simon to reach the Wimbledon quarterfinals.
His 7-6(1) 7-6(5) 5-7 7-6(5) over the Frenchman sets up a highly-anticipated meeting with No.2 seed Rafael Nadal.
Nadal won his fourth-round match over Jiri Vesely in straight sets on Monday.
“It will be a different match that we played in Paris few weeks ago,” said Del Potro, who fell 6-4 6-1 6-2 to Nadal in the Roland Garros semifinals.
“I will try to hold my service games most of the time. If I want to beat him, I have to come to the net very often and play hard with my forehands, with my backhands, and try to take all the chances.”
Looking at the match up between Del Potro and Simon, one wonders how the diminutive Simon can hang with the tall powerful Argentine – whose booming serve and flat, penetrating groundstrokes took him to the semifinals here in 2013 – for four hours and 24 minutes.
But Simon, a former world No.6, is the same player who lulled then No.1 Novak Djokovic into 100 unforced errors in an infamous four-and-a-half hour match at Australian Open 2016.
Yet like that match in Melbourne, he went down again on Tuesday.
— Wimbledon (@Wimbledon) July 10, 2018
The match, which had been suspended due to darkness on Monday night, resumed with Del Potro leading by two sets to one.
He promptly fell behind 1-3 only to win four of the next five games and found himself serving for the match.
The fifth seed was unable to close out the match when leading 5-4, 40-15; two more match points in that game came and went before Simon levelled scores at 5-5.
With the match having extended well over the four-hour mark – rare for a grass-court match – Simon forged ahead 3-1 in the fourth-set tiebreak.
Yet Del Potro closed it out strongly, six of the final eight points to progress.
“Hopefully I feel good for tomorrow. I been doing treatment already, looking forward for being ready for tomorrow,” Del Potro said.
“But I think I will be in good conditions. My body feels okay. Normally I feel a little bit tired. It’s a big chance for me to face Rafa tomorrow.”
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