Rafael Nadal outlasts Taylor Fritz, into Wimbledon semifinal against Nick Kyrgios

Rafael Nadal
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Rafael Nadal overcame American Taylor Fritz in five sets and his latest physical ailment, an abdominal injury, to reach a Wimbledon semifinal against Nick Kyrgios.

Nadal outlasted Fritz 3-6, 7-5, 3-6, 7-5, 7-6 (4) to move two match wins away from a third major title this year and a record-extending 23rd men’s Grand Slam singles title.

He took a medical timeout in the second set to receive treatment off court on his abs. His serve speed dropped. At one point during play, Nadal’s father was motioning from his player box for him to quit.

“A lot of moments I was thinking maybe I will not be able to finish the match,” he said. “I had these feelings [abdominal pain] for a couple of days. Without a doubt, today was the worst day. Have been an important increase of pain and limitation.”

Nadal said he will get medical tests on Thursday. He said he could not give a clear answer when asked his chances of playing Friday’s semifinal.

“Something more important than win Wimbledon, that is the health,” he said.

WIMBLEDON DRAWS: Women | Men

Fritz, the 11th seed in his first major quarterfinal, nearly became the first American to beat Nadal in 27 tries dating to the 2005 U.S. Open (James Blake). Instead, the U.S. men’s major drought extends, dating to Andy Roddick‘s 2003 U.S. Open title.

“Probably hurts more than any loss I’ve ever had,” said Fritz, who beat Nadal in the Indian Wells final in March, when both were not fully healthy. “Certain parts of the match I felt like maybe I kind of just needed to come up with more, do more. I left a lot up to him, and he delivered.”

Nadal next gets a familiar Wimbledon foe — the Aussie Kyrgios, who swept Chilean Cristian Garin 6-4, 6-3, 7-6 (5) to make his first major semifinal.

Kyrgios’ first breakthrough win came against Nadal in the fourth round of Wimbledon in 2014. They met again at Wimbledon in 2019, with Nadal prevailing in four sets.

“First thing,” Nadal said. “I hope to be ready to play. Going to be a big challenge.”

Earlier, Simona Halep swept American Amanda Anisimova 6-2, 6-4 to reach the semifinals with her 12th consecutive match victory at Wimbledon including her 2019 title run.

She nearly squandered a 5-1 lead in the second set, rallying from a love-40 deficit on her serve in the last game.

The 16th seed Halep, who has dropped just one set during her Wimbledon win streak, faces No. 17 seed Elena Rybakina on Thursday for a place in Saturday’s final. The Moscow-born Kazakh Rybakina beat 44th-ranked Ajla Tomljanovic of Australia 4-6, 6-2, 6-3 to make her first major semi.

No. 3 seed Ons Jabeur of Tunisia plays 103rd-ranked German Tatjana Maria in the other semi.

Halep, a 30-year-old Romanian, is a two-time major champion. The more recent crown came at 2019 Wimbledon, where she had the match of her life to rout Serena Williams in the final.

Wimbledon was canceled in 2020 due to the pandemic. Halep missed 2021 Wimbledon due to a torn left calf.

After a fourth-round loss at September’s U.S. Open, Halep announced she and Australian coach Darren Cahill split. Cahill has since worked with Anisimova.

Halep turned to Patrick Mouratoglou, Williams’ former coach, whom she has been working with for at least three months.

She can join the Williams sisters as the lone women to win Wimbledon in back-to-back appearances in the last 25 years.

“I struggled a lot last year, and now I’m just trying to get my confidence back,” she said.

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