Rafael Nadal's hopes of a third Wimbledon crown sank with the setting sun as Luxembourg's Gilles Muller returned to haunt the Spaniard with a nerve-jangling 6-3 6-4 3-6 4-6 15-13 victory in a fourth-round classic on Monday.
Muller outplayed Nadal in the opening two sets and then, after weathering a ferocious fightback, made the running in the fifth when his baseline craft matched Nadal's.
He struck 30 aces and 95 winners as he moved on to a quarter-final with Marin Cilic -- his second in majors after reaching the last eight at the 2008 U.S. Open.
From start to finish, a feast for the eyes...The best points from a #Wimbledon classic 🎥#ManicMonday pic.twitter.com/sUbpM0Ij2A— Wimbledon (@Wimbledon) July 10, 2017
"I did really well in the first two sets, then Rafa stepped it up. It was a big battle," said Muller. "When I had the last two match points, I thought I just had to give it a shot. Somehow in the end I made it."
The loss didn't stop Nadal from incredible display of sportsmanship. The 15-time Grand Slam winner waited for his opponent after the conclusion of the match so that the two can walk off the court together. Nadal also stopped to sign autographs for the fans.
Class in defeat.After a titanic contest, Rafael Nadal waits to walk off court with opponent Gilles Muller#Wimbledon #ManicMonday pic.twitter.com/1URgEVS9sG— Wimbledon (@Wimbledon) July 10, 2017
(With Reuters inputs)