So Rafa has gone on the biggest day of the tournament. Gilles Muller kept his nerve and dug deep to finally break the Spaniard, winning the fifth set 15/13. Muller had led by two sets to love before the usual Nadal fightback took place. As the fifth set unfolded Muller always looked the more likely to break. Nadal found himself at 0/30 on several occasions and match points had been and gone for Gilles. I thought Nadal has started to visibly tire midway through the decider. He may be started leaving a few he would normally be chase down. The last few months looked to have taken their toll in my opinion and 13 minutes shy of 5 hours did not help here! Muller served like a monster and looked to be the aggressor in the points. He beat Nadal 12 years ago at Wimbledon, but this was a bigger win! He will play Marin Cilic next, the Croat hammered Bautista-Agut in straights, still yet to drop a set, Cilic. How much will Muller have left in the tank for this one?
Muzza took out Benoit Paire in straights, this was still by no means vintage Murray but it was good enough again today. He struggled early on but once back on par you only felt there would be one winner. Paire can just be a little too erratic and that suits Muzza down to the ground. He now faces Sam Querrey in the Quarter-Finals after he beat Kevin Anderson in five.
In the bottom half, Milos Raonic came from two sets to one down against Sascha Zverev to set up another match with Roger Federer (he beat him last year). Zverev will be disappointed not to have won this as he had his chances and Raonic is lucky to still be here after this. Sascha says he is getting fed up of being told how great he will be, he will need to learn from these defeats and I’m sure he will. The Canadian will have to play considerably better against Federer who comfortably eased past Grigor Dimitrov. Baby Fed had no answers to the master today!
Tomas Berdych beat Dominic Thiem in a topsy-turvy five setter, showing his experience on the surface. He will probably play Novak Djokovic who didn’t get on court today due to Nadal/Muller and The AELTC saying it wasn’t possible to switch to Centre Court. They thought it would cause a safety issue with the grounds still full, I assume this is related to the ticket resale facility!
Garbine Muguruza won a high-quality encounter against Angie Kerber. These are not two words that have been associated with the pair of them all the time this season. A lot more encouraging from Angie, she suggested it was her best match of the year! Muguruza always slightly more aggressive though and that usually pays dividends. The Spaniard has been given good reports during the last week. She plays Svetlana Kuznetsova who once again impressed in seeing off Aggie Radwanska, Kuzzy is still yet to drop a set this week. I think she goes into this one with no real pressure again!
Maggie Rybarikova eventually outclassed Petra Martic in 3 sets. It’s Rybarikova first ever Quarter-Final, which you would struggle to believe if you have seen the 28-year-old here during the tournament. Her variation should cause Coco Vandeweghe a few headaches in the Last 8. She beat the American in Paris recently. Vandeweghe played well in beating Caroline Wozniacki. The firepower here proving too much for the Dane, after reaching the final in Eastbourne I have always felt like she is playing catch up here!
Venus was superb is beating Ana Konjuh 6/3 6/2. Serving well again and dominating the points against her younger opponent. Venus says she is happy with how she is playing right now and it’s just about winning each round. It’s a big-hitting contest next up against Jelena Ostapenko, who despite an edgy finish played lights out tennis against Elina Svitolina. Expect plenty of winners in this one as both players will look to get the first big blow in!
Jo Konta put in another very solid performance against Caroline Garcia. It would have been easy for her to buckle under the pressure here but she didn’t. Garcia gave here a real test and Konta had to keep it all in check here, her calmness under pressure will have been a real boost. It reminded me very much of the victory over Vekic last week. Will the long matches take their toll in the end? Her Quarter-Final opponent, Simona Halep beat Vika Azarenka, who after starting well apparently became very erratic and Halep is too solid off the ground for that kind of behaviour. A first Semi-Final at Wimbledon is up for grabs for Konta as Halep plays knowing a win would take her to number one in the world! Big game!
Finally, Jay Clarke and Marcus Willis lost in the doubles today to Marach/Pavic. What a week for the two lads though. Great Effort, also a top win on Saturday against Herbert/Mahut in an electric atmosphere on Court 3. Onwards and upwards.
Andy Del Potro