Muller stuns Nadal
Originally published on 10/07/17 00:00
The Luxembourger witnessed a two set advantage disappear however he regrouped in a marathon decider and converted his fifth match-point opportunity to cause a major upset and reach the quarter-finals of Wimbledon for the first time.
Nadal, who has been beaten at Wimbledon by another big-hitter in SW19 once again, will regret his failure to convert any of five break-point opportunities in the deciding set however he encountered an inspired opponent with an excellent grass-court game.
“It was a long match," admitted a weary looking Muller after 4 hours and 48 minutes on court. “I was two sets up and then Rafa stepped it up and in the end it was just a big battle. I believe I had four match-points that I didn’t take so it was getting really tough but when I had the last two-match points I gave it a 100%, and it worked.
“I didn’t feel like I played bad in the third and fourth set, Rafa was just too good. I started serving a bit better in the fifth and in the end it’s just about a few points here and there so it’s tough to know what made the difference.”
Muller’s reward is a last eight meeting Marin Cilic, who defeated Roberto Bautista Agut for the loss of just six games.
Andy Murray is into the quarter-finals of Wimbledon for a tenth year in a row after a 7-6(1) 6-4 6-4 success over Benoit Paire.
The world No.1 did well to claim a tight opening set and his level of play improved as the match progressed. He will play Sam Querrey, who defeated Kevin Anderson 5-7 7-6(5) 6-3 6-7(11) 6-3, in the last eight on Wednesday.
The mercurial Frenchman is an awkward customer for any opponent and he showcased his flair and finesse in the early stages. Paire’s frequent use of the dropshot brought mixed results but he will have been disappointed to have been taken to a first set tiebreak.
Paire began the shootout with a double-fault and it set the tone. Murray convincingly won the tiebreak for the concession of just one point.
The top seed began to direct most of the traffic towards Paire’s forehand – his weaker wing – and it brought success. With each game that ticked by, Murray played with greater intent and he struck at the business end of the second and third sets to maintain his place in the competition.
“I thought I played well today,” said Murray. “There were a couple of sloppy service games in the first set but that was by far the best I’ve hit the ball in the tournament so I’m really pleased with that.
“Paire is not an easy guy to play. He’s got one of the best backhands and he can play every shot – so it’s not always easy against him tactically but I managed to get it done.”
Roger Federer enjoyed another straightforward victory as he defeated Grigor Dimitrov 6-4 6-2 6-4 to reach a 50th Grand Slam quarter-final.
The match was eagerly-anticipated but Dimitrov struggled with his serve and the Swiss, who is yet to drop a set in tournament, was always in control.
“He [Dimitrov] did give me some opportunities and I was happy to take advantage of them,” remarked the seven-time champion after the match. “The most important thing was to focus on my game and do the right things out there. I thought it was a terrific match from me and I didn’t expect it to be that easy, although it wasn’t as easy as it maybe looked like.”
Federer will take on the man who defeated him at the semi-final stage last year. Milos Raonic is into the last eight once again after an impressive 4-6 7-5 4-6 7-5 6-1 victory over Alexander Zverev.
Tomas Berdych was also involved in a dramatic five-setter. The Czech recorded his second top 10 win of the year by defeating Dominic Thiem 6-3 6-7(1) 6-3 3-6 6-3.
"I think I showed pretty good tennis," said Berdych. "I was serving very well throughout the whole match. I was making a lot of chances even in the sets that I lost. I think I had it pretty much under control all the time, which was the most important thing, and I was just dictating the game. It's a win, which is very important to me."
The fourth round match between Novak Djokovic and Adrian Mannarino has been pushed back until Tuesday.