Rafael Nadal Rolls Into Wimbledon Quarterfinals, Moves To 18-0 In Majors In 2022
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The Rafa Nadal express keeps rolling.

Nadal, who has won the first two legs of the calendar Grand Slam for the first time in his career, moved into the Wimbledon quarterfinals by beating No. 21 Botic van de Zandschulp of The Netherlands, 6-4, 6-2, 7-6(6) in the fourth round on Monday, closing it out when his opponent hit a forehand overhead wide on match point.

The 36-year-old Spaniard is now 18-0 in majors this season.

He will next face American Taylor Fritz on Wednesday after Fritz advanced to his first career quarterfinal. He has yet to drop a set in the fortnight. Nadal and Fritz are 1-1 head-to-head, with the American beating a compromised Nadal in the Indian Wells final in March when Nadal was bothered by a cracked rib. This will be their first meeting on grass. Nadal is 7-0 in Wimbledon quarterfinals.

“He’s playing well, he’s having an amazing year, winning a first Masters 1000, against me by the way in the finals so, yeah, gonna be a tough match but we are in quarterfinals of Wimbledon so what can I expect?” Nadal said of Fritz.

The winner of that match could get the mercurial Nick Kyrgios in the semis after the Australian advanced to his first major quarterfinal in seven years by beating 20-year-old American Brandon Nakashima in five sets. Kyrgios next faces Cristian Garin of Chile in the quarters.

“In 2019 my agent had to come get me out of a pub at 4:00 AM before I played Nadal,” Kyrgios said. “This year I have a different mindset. I’ve come a long way, that’s for sure.”

Top seed and three-time defending champion Novak Djokovic is on the other half of the bracket and could await Nadal in Sunday’s championship match. He should get a stiff test from No. 10 Jannik Sinner on Tuesday after the Italian handled No. 5 Carlos Alcaraz in four sets Sunday.

Djokovic has said he has added motivation to win his fourth straight Wimbledon because he is not currently permitted in the U.S. to play the U.S. Open because he is not vaccinated against Covid-19.

After winning his 14th French Open and 22nd Grand Slam title June 5, Nadal said he planned to have radiofrequency ablation – which uses heat on the nerve to quell long-term pain – but would have to consider surgery if that treatment did not work. The tennis legend suffers from Mueller-Weiss syndrome – a rare degenerative condition that affects bones in the feet. He said he played through the French Open because he received multiple anaesthetic injections during the tournament.

“I know at the beginning of the tournament, especially at the physical stature that I arrived here,” he said after his first round match, “the victory is the most important thing because that gives me the chance to practice tomorrow again and to have another match in two days. And I am happy for that, without a doubt.”

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