Nadal saved three break points before an imperious forehand victor put him 5-3 up and he put away a simple volley to finally finish off Del Potro, then made his way around the net to embrace his tired opponent as he lay on the court following another tumble.
Juan Martin del Potro lay sprawled face down on the slippery and dusty Centre Court turf as Nadal punched away a final backhand volley to seal a 7-5 6-7 (7) 4-6 6-4 6-4 win that took him into the semi-finals for the first time since 2011.
"I will try to hold my service games most of the time".
A sprightly Nadal went on the front foot to turn the tide in the fourth, Del Potro twice hitting the deck as he was broken to love to trail 3-2 and while he saved two set points behind his powerful serve, the 11-time French Open champion was jumping for joy after a searing backhand victor made sure the match would go all the way.
That four-hour and 48-minute epic put him into his sixth Wimbledon semi-final and 28th at the majors.More news: Flood in Japan: the number of victims has risen to 179
But the 31-year-old has been rejuvenated at Wimbledon, sweeping into the semi-finals for the eighth time. I think confidence is back for him.
Nadal was two sets to one down before fighting back to win in five sets - and nearly five hours - to reach his first SW19 semi-final since 2011.
If you want to win Wimbledon, you need a bit of luck to go your way. Yeah, honestly it's not easy playing Novak because I don't have good records.
In a match that delivered quality throughout, Nadal recovered from two sets to one down to treat the Wimbledon crowd to a match few will forget. "It depends on Rafa's body after tomorrow", Del Potro said.
Opportunity knocks for both men here with a chance at a first Wimbledon final.More news: Eleven Rescued From Alaska Crash
Anderson or Isner to reach first SW19 final?
Anderson is the first South African to make the last-four since Kevin Curren in 1983.
Ninth-seeded Isner has hit a tournament-high 135 aces on his way to reaching his first Wimbledon quarterfinal.
"But also putting myself in these positions where hopefully I'm able to get another step forward and be playing on Sunday".
"My results were not up to the standard that I had before", said Djokovic after beating Kei Nishikori in the quarter-finals.
"I just kept on telling myself I have to continue believing".More news: Couple having affair die from carbon monoxide poisoning during sex
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