It was an efficient victory for 22-time Grand Slam champion Rafael Nadal over Botic van de Zandschulp, winning over the Dutchman, 6-4 6-2 7-6 (8-6) at the All England Club.
The proceedings on the Centre Court went on for 2 hours and 20 minutes, which ended before the 11 pm curfew. It almost left defending champion Novak Djokovic in limbo on Sunday. The victory ensures that Nadal is on course for the Grand Slam this calendar year.
Nadal now is set to reunite with American Taylor Fritz, who beat him in the Indian Wells final in March. The Spaniard was then playing with a stress fracture of a rib. Last month, Nadal had undergone radio-wave treatment for a nerve in his left foot so he could compete in SW19.
Constant discussions about his fitness has been wearing down Nadal though.
“I am a little bit tired to talk about my body. Sometimes I am tired about myself, all the issues that I am having. I prefer to not talk about that now. Sorry for that,” Nadal said.
“But I am in the middle of the tournament and I have to keep going. All respect for the rest of the opponents. I am just trying my best every single day. For the moment I am healthy enough to keep going and fight for the things that I want.
“It takes a lot of mental and physical effort to try to play this tournament after the things that I went through the last couple of months. But as everybody knows, Wimbledon is a tournament that I like so much.”
“I have been three years without playing here. I really wanted to be back. That’s what I am doing. So that’s why it means a lot for me to be in the quarter-finals,” he added.
The 11th-seeded Fritz easily defeated Australia’s Jason Kubler 6-3 6-1 6-4 to make it to his first Grand Slam quarter-final.
“My first Grand Slam quarter-final, that’s really a big deal,” said Fritz, who has yet to drop a set in the tournament.
“Part of the final eight and… I’m glad I could get the win on the Fourth of July, being American.”
The victory was Fritz 8th straight on grass after winning the Wimbledon warm-up tournament in Eastbourne.