Nadal tumbles out of Wimbledon

The Associated Press

Rafael Nadal falls down after failing to reach a ball during his match against Gilles Muller on Day 7 at Wimbledon on Monday.

The Associated PressLONDON (AP) — Rafael Nadal kept getting pushed to the brink of defeat. He kept resisting.

He dropped the first two sets, then won the next two. He erased two match points in the riveting fifth set’s 10th game, then another two in its 20th game. Only when his fourth-round match against 16th-seeded Gilles Muller of Luxembourg stretched past 4½ hours, the sunlight fading, did Nadal blink.

After repeatedly digging himself out of difficult situations, Nadal finally succumbed, broken in the last game of a 6-3, 6-4, 3-6, 4-6, 15-13 loss to Muller on Monday.

“I played with the right determination, right passion, right attitude,” Nadal said, “to win the match.”

But he could not pull through, extending his drought without a quarterfinal berth at the All England Club to six years.

“Just tried to hang in there,” Muller said. “Still kept believing. Yeah, somehow in the end, I made it.”

Nadal won two of his 15 Grand Slam championships at Wimbledon, and played in the final three other times, most recently in 2011. But since then, Nadal’s exits at the All England Club have come in the first round (2013), second round (2012, 2015) or fourth round (2014, 2017).

All of those losses, except Monday’s, came against men ranked 100th or worse. The 34-year-old Muller is not exactly a giant-killer: He had lost 22 consecutive matches against players in the top five. And he’d only reached a Grand Slam quarterfinal once before, at the 2008 U.S. Open.

Nadal said Muller’s powerful serve and crisp volleys make him “uncomfortable” to play.

Now Muller, who also beat Nadal at Wimbledon in 2005, will get a much-needed chance to recover before facing 2014 U.S. Open champion Marin Cilic in Wednesday’s quarterfinals.

In-form Federer flies

Playing on Centre Court, Roger Federer won again. The seven-time Wimbledon champion advanced to the quarterfinals for the 15th time by beating Grigor Dimitrov 6-4, 6-2, 6-4.

Federer has won 18 Grand Slam titles. One more at Wimbledon will give him a record eighth championship at the All England Club.

Andy Murray is in the Wimbledon quarterfinals for the 10th straight year. The defending champion beat Benoit Paire 7-6 (7-1), 6-4, 6-4 on Centre Court.

Murray has won two titles at the All England Club. In his previous nine quarterfinal matches, Murray is 7-2. The top-ranked Murray will next face either Sam Querrey or Kevin Anderson.

Tomas Berdych advanced to the Wimbledon quarterfinals for the second year in a row. The 2010 finalist at the All England Club beat eighth-seeded Dominic Thiem of Austria 6-3, 6-7 (1-7), 6-3, 3-6, 6-3 on No. 3 Court.

Sam Querrey withstood another five-set match, this time defeating Kevin Anderson on his sixth match point, to reach the quarterfinals at Wimbledon for the second year in a row.

The 24th-seeded American battled past Anderson 5-7, 7-6 (7-5), 6-3, 6-7 (11-13), 6-3.Speech

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