Rafael Nadal and Juan Martin del Potro share touching Wimbledon moment after epic clash
RAFAEL NADAL picked Juan Martin del Potro up off the Wimbledon turf before embracing him after they spent nearly five hours battling it out on court today in the quarter-finals.
The pair spent four hours and 48 minutes on Centre Court earlier today before Nadal emerged a 7-5, 6-7, 4-6, 6-4, 6-4 victor to move into the semi-finals for the first time in seven years.
Del Potro meanwhile made the last four in 2013 before being beaten by Novak Djokovic, who awaits Nadal in the semi-finals this time around.
But the Argentinian played some of his best tennis and led by two sets to one before Nadal showed remarkable determination to force his way back into the match.
On match point, he serve-and-volleyed into Del Potro's backhand but had an open court in which to play the winner after his opponent slipped behind the baseline.
Juan Martin del Potro looked exhausted after a draining five sets of tennis
The beaten man described it as a "sad" way to end proceedings but paid tribute to his conqueror's actions.
"It wasn't good for me because I didn't want to finish the match like that," Del Potro said.
"At least I could hit my forehand in or out, but is not a good way to close the match like that.
"But also Rafa made some serves and volleys. He played very smart point.
"After almost five hours match, I fell down. I wanted to stay there for all night long.
"But Rafa cames to me and we made a big hug, and it was kind of him."
And Nadal reiterated his respect for Del Potro in his own post-match interview.
"It was a very emotional match with a great quality of tennis especially in the last set,” Nadal said afterwards.
“I’m sorry for Juan Martin. He’s an amazing opponent and amazing player. In some ways he deserved victory too."