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Rafael Nadal falls in fourth-round thriller at Wimbledon

USA TODAY logo USA TODAY 10-07-2017 Sandra Harwitt
Spain's Rafael Nadal returns to Luxembourg's Gilles Muller during their match at the Wimbledon Tennis Championships on July 10. © Tim Ireland, AP Spain's Rafael Nadal returns to Luxembourg's Gilles Muller during their match at the Wimbledon Tennis Championships on July 10.

WIMBLEDON, England — After 17 years playing on the tour, 16th seed Gilles Muller won the match of his career with a 6-3, 6-4, 3-6, 4-6, 15-13 fourth-round upset of fourth-seed Rafael Nadal at Wimbledon on Monday.

Muller, 34, needed five match points to move into the first Wimbledon quarterfinal of his career. The win ended his 22-match losing streak against Top 5 opponents.

The only other time he’s reached a Grand Slam quarterfinal was as a qualifier at the 2008 U.S. Open, where he eventually lost to Roger Federer.

“Tired,” said Muller, when asked how he was feeling after the 4-hour, 48-minute match. “It was a long match. It was a big battle. When I had these last two match points I said, ‘Just go on and give it a try.’”

Full Coverage: Wimbledon 2017

The Luxembourg native seemed calm and always had the momentum in his corner in the final set.

Muller had his first two match points on Nadal’s serve in the 10th game of the fifth set. He had his next two on Nadal’s serve in the 20th game, but the Spaniard again escaped his clutches.

The 31-year-old Nadal, however, couldn’t overcome a fifth point on his serve at 15-40 in the 28th game and surrendered the match when sailing a forehand long.

Muller had never won a title before this season. He’s captured two this year at Sydney in January and the grass court title at s-Hertogenbosch, Netherlands, a few weeks ago.

Nadal’s hopes of winning back-to-back French Open and Wimbledon titles for the third time in his career ended against Muller.

 

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