Wimbledon: Nadal overcomes injury and fearless Fritz to keep calendar slam dream alive

By Sports Desk July 06, 2022

Rafael Nadal's hopes of landing a first calendar slam remain alive after he dug deep to edge Taylor Fritz in a fifth-set tie-break and reach the semi-finals of Wimbledon.

Competing at this stage of a grand slam for a 47th time – compared to a first time for Fritz – Nadal battled through the pain barrier to win 3-6 7-5 3-6 7-5 7-6 (10-4) on Centre Court.

Nadal, who was regularly checked over by his physio, will now face Nick Kyrgios as he looks to add to the Australian Open and French Open crowns already won this year.

Fritz had not dropped a single set en route to the final eight, but facing Nadal initially appeared a challenge too far when the Spaniard broke his serve in the opening game.

However, the number 11 seed responded brilliantly by whittling off five games in a row – breaking Nadal twice – to take the first set and lay down a real marker.

He could not carry that momentum into the second set, with Nadal racing into a 3-0 lead, but the 22-time grand slam winner was struggling with an abdominal injury at that point.

With mistakes again creeping into his game, Nadal called for a medical time-out when pegged back to 4-3, though he was able to successfully serve out the set to level up.

Fritz, who ended Nadal's 20-0 match streak in their most recent meeting in the Indian Wells final earlier this year, took a relatively one-sided third set to regain the lead.

Both players struggled to hold in a tense fourth set, which was tied at 5-5 with the serve in Fritz's favour, only for Nadal to show incredible resolve to break and force a decider.

The final set went the way of the serve until a mammoth seventh game when, at the fourth time of asking, Nadal took his big opportunity, yet the fearless Fritz hit back in the next game as the match went the distance.

But it was Nadal who held his nerve in the tie-break, with a stunning cross-court forehand seeing him break Fritz's serve for the first of five points in a row to get over the line in a match spanning four hours and 20 minutes.


Data slam: Nadal taken the distance

Nadal's victory was just his second ever in a fifth-set tie-break at a grand slam, having previously prevailed against Dominic Thiem in the quarter-finals of the US Open in 2018.

The Spaniard, who remains on course to meet Novak Djokovic in Sunday's final, now has 19 straight grand slam wins in 2022 – three short of his own record of 21, which he set in 2010.


Nadal – 56/35
Fritz – 56/42


Nadal – 19/3
Fritz – 5/7


Nadal – 8/14
Fritz – 7/14

Related items

  • 'Gladiator' Andy Murray could still prolong career, says Diego Schwartzman 'Gladiator' Andy Murray could still prolong career, says Diego Schwartzman

    Andy Murray is a "gladiator" and his love for tennis means he could yet prolong his career, according to former world number eight Diego Schwartzman.

    Murray has endured a difficult few years with injuries, undergoing surgery on both hips in 2018 and 2019.

    The three-time major champion has repeatedly said he is approaching the end of his career, revealing in February that he does not "plan on playing much past this summer".

    Murray is currently preparing for what will likely be his final appearance at the French Open, having sat out five of the last six tournaments at Roland-Garros.

    Schwartzman, however, feels Murray's love for the game could lead to him playing on for longer than anticipated.  

    "His life is tennis and I think he enjoys it. I think this is his legacy," Schwartzman – who won his only tour-level meeting with Murray in Antwerp in 2021 – told Stats Perform.

    "No matter what you do, your age or how you are doing, if you really love the sport and you love what you do, you can do it and you can push hard for as many years and as many tournaments as you want.

    "He's a fighter, a gladiator, and he's been doing the same since he was very young, and for us also, sharing tournaments and sharing moments, he has the passion out there. 

    "So, it's good to see these kinds of guys because tennis always needs guys who love the sport, and this is the one for sure."

    Murray would surely have added to his one US Open title and two Wimbledon crowns if not for the presence of the 'big three' of Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer. The Scot has lost five grand slam finals to Djokovic and one to Federer. 

    Schwartzman says the importance of preparation is the main thing he learned from being on tour with those three greats, though he refused to say who was the greatest of all time. 

    "I know them very well, playing them on court, outside of the court," the Argentine added. "The good thing for me and many guys who share the tournaments with them is how differently they prepare the tournaments.

    "How differently they do things with food, with practice, with everything. It's crazy.

    "I think, okay, 'in one small way he's the best to do this side of the game', and then the other one is the best [at another aspect], so it's not my thing, who the GOAT is."

  • Haddad Maia and Keys into Strasbourg quarter-finals Haddad Maia and Keys into Strasbourg quarter-finals

    Beatriz Haddad Maia and Madison Keys have both progressed to the quarter-finals of the Internationaux de Strasbourg.

    American Keys, seeded fourth, surged clear of China’s Wang Xinyu in a dominant second set to prevail 7-5 6-0, only being broken once in the match.

    Haddad Maia, meanwhile, fought back from losing the first three games to defeat Emma Navarro 6-4 7-6 (7-1) in a keenly contested battle.

    Second seed Haddad Maia will face Liudmila Samsonova in the last eight, while Keys will take on either Ekaterina Alexandrova or Magda Linette at the WTA 500 event.

    Top seed Marketa Vondrousova and two-time tournament winner Elina Svitolina are among the other players due to play later on Wednesday.

    Data Debrief: Haddad Maia shows resilience

    The battling win for Haddad Maia lasted two hours and 16 minutes, with Navarro pushing the Brazilian all the way.

    Navarro forced 17 break points on Haddad Maia’s serve across the two sets and converted six of them, but still fell to defeat.

    Haddad Maia now leads the head-to-head against Navarro 2-1, having also beaten her at the Madrid Open last month as part of her run to the last eight in Spain.

  • Murray knocked out of Geneva Open as Hanfmann books Djokovic clash Murray knocked out of Geneva Open as Hanfmann books Djokovic clash

    Andy Murray was denied a meeting with Novak Djokovic at the Geneva Open as Yannick Hanfmann completed a 7-5 6-2 win over the Scot on Tuesday.

    Murray's first-round clash with Hanfmann was suspended due to rain on Monday, with the three-time grand slam champion 7-5 4-1 down.

    He had earlier fumed at umpire Greg Allensworth as pollen rained down on the court in Switzerland, questioning why play had not been stopped.

    The rain may have frustrated Hanfmann's victory pursuit on Monday, but it only provided a temporary reprieve for Murray as the players returned to complete the match the next day.

    Hanfmann held his nerve through his final two service games to book a meeting with Djokovic for Wednesday.  

    In Tuesday's other early match, four-time grand slam quarter-finalist David Goffin was beaten in straight sets by Nicolas Moreno De Alboran.

    The likes of Denis Shapovalov and Tallon Griekspoor are also in action in Switzerland on Tuesday, with Taylor Fritz and Casper Ruud joining Djokovic in entering for the second round on Wednesday.

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.