Nadal outduels Fritz, moves to Wimbledon semis

Rafael Nadal just made his eighth Wimbledon semifinals trip. (

By Leobert Julian A. de la Peña

World no. 2 male lawn tennis player Rafael Nadal overcame his toughest challenge so far and edged American Taylor Fritz in five grueling sets- 3.6, 7.5, 3.6, 7.5, 7.6- to advance to another Wimbledon semifinals in his 21-year professional career.

After only dropping two total sets from the first elimination round to the Round of 16, Nadal fought a laser-focused Fritz and became the first player in the tournament to take the legendary Spaniard to five long sets.

Fritz had all the answers countering Nadal’s blitzing forehand bombs and looked comfortable in the baseline game against the more experienced Spaniard.

After gaining control of his groundstrokes, Fritz mixed his offensive scheme up with a more aggressive approach in the net that paid off huge after taking the first set that put the whole crowd in Center Court to their feet.

However, Nadal was quick to level the match after taking the second set, out-pointing the American and converted timely scores including his patent forehand down-the-line winners.

Despite his high-level play, Nadal requested a medical timeout and had to go back to the locker room to get treatment for what was suspected to be an abdominal issue that kept bugging him during the entire match.

Fritz retaliated in the third set and was able to replicate his first set rally by pressuring the hobbled Nadal in the net area and made the Spaniard work for every shot with his insane ball-placing.

The young American only needed one more set to pull off the upset win but the veteran Nadal had other plans and suddenly flipped the switch in the last two sets.

Nadal chose to engage in long back-and-forth baseline rallies against Fritz that later on worked and stuck to his game plan of keeping the American away from pressuring him in the net.

The 22-time Grand Slam champion then sealed the deal during the tiebreak of the fifth set and started to pull away after taking the lead 7-4.

With the huge win, Nadal will be taking on a familiar foe in Nick Kyrgios who is currently having a terrific Wimbledon run after defeating Cristian Garin, Stefanos Tsitsipas, and Brandon Nakashima to advance to the top 4.