Rafael Nadal v Juan Martin del Potro Wimbledon Live Stream and Predictions - Nadal and del Potro meet in Wimbledon blockbuster

Luke Williams 11 Jul 2018
  • Rafael Nadal vs Juan Martin del Potro is live from Wimbledon from 00.00am AEST on Thursday
  • Nadal leads 10-5 on head-to-head, 2-0 on grass
  • Watch and bet on tennis live from Wimbledon at bet365 > live streaming > tennis (geo-restrictions apply; funded account required or to have placed a bet in the last 24 hours to qualify)

Rafael Nadal and Juan Martin del Potro meet in a blockbuster Wimbledon quarter final on Wednesday as both players attempt to return to the semi-finals after lengthy absences. 

Watch and bet on Nadal v Del Potro at bet365 (geo-restrictions apply; funded account required or to have placed a bet in the last 24 hours to qualify)

Nadal has not been to the semis at Wimbledon since a runner-up finish in 2011, while del Potro is seeking a last four berth for the first time since 2013.

Nadal's sharp decline at Wimbledon was particularly surprising, given that the great Spaniard had made five consecutive finals between 2006 and 2011 (he missed the 2009 edition through injury), claiming titles in 2008 and 2010, but what followed was years of mind-boggling under-achievement. Nadal was particularly susceptible to big-servers/big-hitters, losing to Lukas Rosol, Nick Kyrgios, Dustin Brown and Gilles Muller during his lean spell, while there was also the head-scratching loss to Steve Darcis somewhere in the mix. In all, Nadal failed to go past the fourth round between 2012 and 2017, raising serious concerns as to whether he would ever cut it at Wimbledon again. 

However, the King of Clay has been resurgent on the grass of Wimbledon this year, staging a return to the quarter finals without dropping a set. His campaign has no doubt been aided by the unusually hot weather at Wimbledon around this time of the year, making the courts drier, and hence more receptive to his trademark spin-laden forehand. The balls have been bouncing higher, meaning Nadal doesn't have to go as low as he has had to to retrieve. 

A flawless tournament, and an admittedly easy draw has so far featured straight sets wins over Dudi Sela, Mikhail Kukushkin, Alex Di Minaur and Jiri Vesely- with the world number one, who will stay at No. 1 after Wimbledon regardless of whatever happens from here, sauntering into the quarter finals with minimum of fuss. 

Nadal has now made the quarter finals in all three Slams this year- the first ended in a disappointing fifth-set retirement against Marin Cilic at the Australian Open, but the second was part of a glorious clay-court campaign that saw the Spaniard claim an 11th French Open title, adding to 11th titles in Monte Carlo and Barcelona, and an eighth Rome title to boot. 

Nadal opted not to play any pre-Wimbledon warm-up tournaments, pulling out of Queen's so as to get more rest and recovery after his clay-court exertions, but it has worked out nicely for him at Wimbledon, where he has moved through the draw without much trouble. However, this is where the honeymoon ends. If Nadal is to win Wimbledon, he may have to go through Juan Martin del Potro, Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer in successive rounds. First up: del Potro. 

Juan Martin del Potro is back in the Wimbledon quarter finals for the first time since 2013, when pushed Novak Djokovic to the brink in an epic semi-final. His infamous injuries have restricted him to just three appearances since then. In fact, he did not play in the two years following that semi-final run, while he reached the third round on his return in 2016, and the second round in 2017.

However, the giant Argentine has finally found an extended run of good health, and he has been making the most of it, reminding everyone of the sort of career he might have had had he somehow managed to stay fit. This is not the time for sober reflection on what might have been, it is the time to appreciate the quality the man brings to the tour; and enjoy these moments. 

It was in the second half of last season that del Potro really began to motor towards the top echelon of the sport- he reached the semi-finals of the US Open, knocking out Roger Federer in the last eight, won the Stockholm title and made the final in Basel en route finishing the year ranked 11 in the world, having started at No. 38 on the rankings. 

Del Potro picked up from where he left off in the new year- opening with a runner-up finish in Auckland and breaking back into the top ten just before the Australian Open. A disappointing early exit from Melbourne turned out to be just a blip as the Argentine found his best form on North American hard courts, blasting his way to consecutive titles in Acapulco and Indian Wells, and a semi-final in Miami to consolidate his top-ten spot. He was up to six after Miami. 

Del Potro didn't have the greatest build-up to the French Open, but that mattered little as the Argentine launched a semi-final run at Roland Garros, stopped in the end by the King of Clay, Nadal. Like Nadal, del Potro pulled out of Queen's on doctor’s orders (he had been struggling with a groin problem during the clay season), and it has turned out that he didn’t need the match practice after all, judging by his performances at Wimbledon. Del Potro straight-setted his way past the capable Peter Gojowczyk, the grass-savvy Feliciano Lopez and the mercurial Benoit Paire to reach the second week for the first time since 2013.

However, he encountered his first real difficulty in the fourth round, as a typically stubborn Gilles Simon pushed him extremely hard. Del Potro took the first two sets on tie breaks, but with the lights fading, the Argentine's concentration appeared to fade as well, and Simon was alive to the opening, breaking late to take the set before play was called off for the day.

Trailing by two sets to one on resumption in the next day, Simon made the brighter start to the fourth set, breaking for a 3-1 lead. However, del Potro battled back to not only get back on serve, but also to earn a chance to serve out the match at 5-4, but the Argentine could not close out the match, failing to convert four match points and getting broken for 5-5 amidst increasing frustration. He trailed 1-3 in the ensuing tie break, but recovered to take the breaker, and eke out 7-6 7-6 5-7 7-6 victory. Might that elongated match come back to hunt him in his quarter final against Nadal? The good thing is that he hadn’t over-exerted himself in the previous rounds, so he will most likely be fine.

Nadal leads his series against del Potro 10-5; and has won both previous matches on grass. There will be no secrets on Wednesday- with both men knowing what exactly to do to win after all these years of battle. Nadal will again be relentless in targeting the del Potro backhand with his serve, and forehand, and will not miss a beat to execute a winner on either wing once the opening arrives. It’s the basic foundation of his game against right handers, and not many have been able to solve the problem. Del Potro knows that the winning formula against the Spaniard on this surface is all-out aggression, hence he must serve well and control points with his forehand and take big cuts in return games- all of which come quite naturally to him. None of Nadal’s previous opponents has had the skill or the temperament to take the game to the Spaniard, but del Potro isn’t lacking in these departments. He has got the firepower and the believe that he can beat Nadal. He has done it five times before.

“It will be a different match [than] we played in Paris few weeks ago. I will try to hold my service games most of the time. If I want to beat him, I have to come to the net very often and play hard with my forehands, with my backhands, and try to take all the chances,” Del Potro said.

Rafael Nadal has been untroubled at Wimbledon so far - that will change. Can Juan Martin del Potro re-open some of Rafa’s old grass-court wounds? 


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Rafael Nadal v Juan Martin del Potro Wimbledon Live Stream and Predictions - Nadal and del Potro meet in Wimbledon blockbuster

Rafael Nadal and Juan Martin del Potro meet in the Wimbledon quarter finals. Who will advance into the semis? Read our preview, predictions and stream the matches live online

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