Rafael Nadal nearly pulled off an epic comeback at Wimbledon, but he just couldn’t get past Gilles Muller.
After winning the first two sets, Muller staved off a furious comeback from Nadal to reach the Wimbledon quarterfinals in a match that lasted nearly five hours.
“I’m tired,” Muller said. “It was a long match. I was two sets up — I played really well in the first two sets — and then Rafa stepped it up, and then at the end it was just a big battle.”
Muller won 6-3, 6-4, 3-6, 4-6, 15-13 to advance to a Grand Slam quarterfinal for the second time in his career and the first time since the 2008 US Open.
“To be honest, I haven’t really realized what just happened,” he said. “It’s a great feeling. … I’m just glad it’s over and I’m in the quarterfinals now.”
Nadal, the reigning French Open champion, has not been to the Wimbledon quarterfinals since 2011. He missed this grasscourt Grand Slam last year because of a wrist injury.
The match lasted 4 hours, 48 minutes.
Muller’s quarterfinal opponent will be seventh-seeded Marin Cilic, who beat Roberto Bautista Agut 6-2, 6-2, 6-2. Cilic, who won the U.S. Open in 2014, will be playing the quarterfinals at the All England Club for the fourth straight year.
Earlier Monday, Roger Federer and Andy Murray both reached the quarters with straight-set victories.
Federer, a seven-time champion at the All England Club and one of the fan favorites, reached the quarterfinals here for the 15th time in his career. He advanced to the quarterfinals for the 15th time by beating Grigor Dimitrov 6-4, 6-2, 6-4.
“I didn’t expect it go to that easy,” said Federer, the Australian Open champion. “It wasn’t as easy maybe as it looks like.”
Federer first reached the Wimbledon quarterfinals in 2001 and then won the first of five straight titles in 2003. He will next face Milos Raonic, who held off Alexander Zverev in five sets.
Murray will play Sam Querrey on Wednesday. The 24th-seeded American defeated Kevin Anderson 5-7, 7-6 (5), 6-3, 6-7 (11), 6-3.
In the previous-5 in the fifth set, and Querrey needed only four minutes to win when it resumed a day later.
Querrey has not been past the quarterfinals, which he reached only once, in his previous 41 appearances in the main draw of a Grand Slam.
Anderson, who tied Querrey with 31 aces, reached the fourth round at the French Open in June and had twice previously reached the fourth round at Wimbledon.