Rafael Nadal stunned by Gilles Muller in Wimbledon epic
Jul 11 2017 by Johnnie Parsons
Finally, up 14-13 and with two match points in front of him, Muller put his opponent away, forcing a Nadalerror. From then on, Nadal won the French Open and the first three rounds of Wimbledon without dropping a set, a streak that finishes tied for third-most completed sets at majors among men in the Open Era at 28. He beat Mario Ancic and Lee Childs before losing to #12 seed, Paradorn Srichaphan of Thailand in straight sets.
Croatian Ana Konjuh, at 19 the youngest player left in the draw, made many sit up and take notice with her three-set win over eighth seed Dominika Cibulkova in the third round. Nadal famously lost to Lukas Rosol in a thrilling five-setter. In one of the longest matches in tennis history (and the longest of this tournament by a wide margin), Muller advanced to the quarterfinals while Nadal, a tw-time Wimbledon champion, was ousted. "At the same time, I was ready for important things, so I lost an opportunity".
Luxembourg's Gilles Muller reacts after missing a point against Spain's Rafael Nadal during their match on day seven at the Wimbledon Tennis Championships in London Monday, July 10, 2017. The 34-year-old is enjoying a great 2017, where he won his first two ATP titles, in Sydney, and more recently on grass at s-Hertogenbosch.
"I did really well in the first two sets, then Rafa stepped it up".
That gave the crowd at Court No. 1 the final of its innumerable gasps and murmurs, before Muller played a fierce final point, with a deep return and two groundstrokes driven to the sides until Nadal's last forehand landed long.
In what was the tournament's best match, the Luxembourg-native outlasted Nadal 6-3, 6-4, 3-6, 4-6, 15-13 in an instant classic. "At the end, it was just a big battle", the journeyman said.
So, with two back-to-back sets, this was Nadal's match to lose all of a sudden, with all the momentum firmly in the Spaniard's end. For the sixth time (against no defeats) Federer beat his beta version, advancing on Centre Court 6-4, 6-2, 6-4 in one hour and 37 minutes. He hit 30 aces and 95 winners, while Nadal hit 23 aces and 77 winners.
The 18-time major victor, who will face last year's runner-up Raonic in the quarter-finals, said he feels in rude health as he eyes a first Wimbledon title in five years and revenge for last year's semi-final defeat to the Canadian.
Muller said he faced some tough moments in the epic. This would have given the chance for Mannarino and Djokovic to finish their match, and move into the quarterfinals, rather than denying them the days rest that their competitors will receive tomorrow.
The Brit has also won both of their meetings and is better suited to grass with her superior weapons, although given both clashes have gone the distance I'll dodge the set betting here and just take the win at 10/11.
So maybe he deserved it a little more than me.
"I didn't expect it go to that easy", said Federer, the Australian Open champion in January.
It was a disappointing showing for Nadal, who hasn't gotten past the fourth round at Wimbledon since 2011 when he made the final.
The 2014 US Open victor, Cilic, poses perhaps the greatest threat to the remaining members of the so-called "Big Four" having sealed a fourth successive quarter-final berth with a ruthless 6-2, 6-2, 6-2 demolition of 18th seed Roberto Bautista Agut.