Rafael Nadal was taken to the fifth set by his 24-year-old opponent Taylor Fritz on Wednesday. The 22-time Grand Slam winner managed to overcome his pain and put up a champion-like show to take the set and game. He won 3-6, 7-5, 3-6, 7-5, 7-6 (10-4) to reach his eighth semifinal at the All England Club, where the 36-year-old will face an in form Nick Kyrgios. 

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Nadal complained of abdominal pain mid-way through the game. His father, who was in the Centre Court stands, waived his arms asking the reigning French Open champion to quit. But Rafa was adamant. He stayed out there, adjusted his strategy and managed to win. 

“For a lot of moments. I was thinking, ‘Maybe I will not be able to finish the match.’” Nadal said after the game. He will get tests Thursday. 

“I don’t know exactly what I have. It’s clear something’s not right. I’m obviously worried,” he added. 

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Fritz had beaten Nadal at Indian Wells, California, in March when the Spaniard was suffering with a rib injury. The American star was close to repeating the feat. 

Rafa left the court with a trainer for a medical timeout while up 4-3 in the second set; Fritz paced around the baseline, waiting. A doctor gave Nadal some pills; the trainer tried to relax the muscle.

“They can’t do much,” Nadal said. “Nothing can be fixed when you have a thing like this.”

However, Fritz, who was dominating the game until the moment, admitted that the break slowed him down.

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“It definitely made me kind of think. I kind of stopped being as aggressive,” the 24-year-old American said. “I feel like I let it kind of get to me a little bit.”

He pretty much handed over the second set of what would become a 4-hour, 21-minute contest under a sky of slate clouds. After Fritz took the third set, his big serve got broken three times in the next.

Fritz’s take on the tiebreaker? “I just got destroyed,” he said.

“Probably hurts more than any loss I’ve ever had,” Fritz said. “After the match was over, I was sitting there and I felt like crying.”

Nadal extended his unbeaten mark in 2022 Grand Slam matches to 19-0 as he seeks to add a trophy at Wimbledon to his triumphs at the Australian Open in January and French Open in June. For everything he’s accomplished, the 36-year-old Spaniard never has won the first three Slam titles of a season.