Nadal to face Djokovic after beating Del Potro in epic

Spain's Rafael Nadal in action during the fourth round match against Czech Republic's Jiri Vesely. Tony O'Brien Reuters

Juan Martin del Potro advanced to the Wimbledon quarterfinals for the first time since 2013 after beating Gilles Simon 7-6 (1), 7-6 (5), 5-7, 7-6 (5).

The last-16 tie between Del Potro and Frenchman Simon was suspended overnight due to darkness on Monday with the Argentine fifth seed two sets to one ahead.

Del Potro trailed 1-3 but at 5-5 he fired down a swinging ace to reach match point number five and this time Simon cracked, netting a backhand to the relief of the Argetine who roared his approval.

In a match filled with entertaining rallies between two of the biggest hitters in the game, Nadal came from a set down to win 7-5, 6-7 (7), 4-6, 6-4, 6-4 in 4 hours, 48 minutes - the longest match of this year's tournament.

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But Del Potro ended the match flat on his face, the latest in a succession of slips, and Nadal explained that the conditions underfoot were to blame.

Next up for the Spaniard is a blockbuster last four showdowns with Serb Novak Djokovic. Both players have settled into a nice rhythm in the opening set and it was Nadal who kept a high level in the entire set, serving at 75% and losing only eight points on serve, avoiding deuces or tie breaks to keep the pressure on Delpo.

" I think it was great quality tennis".

Victory secured, Nadal climbed over the net and ran over to the baseline to help the distraught Del Potro back to his feet.

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"Rafa is a fighter".

Just 90 minutes after defending champion Roger Federer was sensationally knocked out by South African Kevin Anderson, it seemed as if the grasscourt major would lose its top two seeds on the same day as Del Potro took a two-sets-to-one lead. Eventually, things went to a tiebreak Del Potro won to capture the set.

Soon, Nadal gained the upper hand, shaking off a hard fall onto his back on one point by whipping a cross-court backhand victor on the next to break for a 3-2 lead.

That blip was enough for Nadal, chasing an 18th Grand Slam title, to surrender his first set of the championships. Raonic hit 31 aces to Isner's 25 but was broken three times, including the last game of the match.

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