Wimbledon 2022 Day 10: Rafa finds a way

 - Reem Abulleil

Spaniard battles past injury and Fritz to set up Kyrgios semi-final showdown

Rafael Nadal Wimbledon 2022©Corinne Dubreuil / FFT

The men’s and women’s semi-finals have been set as we enter the closing stages of Wimbledon 2022.

Rafael Nadal and Nick Kyrgios advanced on Wednesday in contrasting fashion, while Simona Halep and Elena Rybakina claimed impressive wins to book a highly-anticipated last-four showdown.

Grand Slam bid still alive

Second-seeded Nadal overcame an abdominal issue to squeeze into the eighth Wimbledon semi-final of his career with a 3-6, 7-5, 3-6, 7-5, 7-6(4) win over American No.11 seed Taylor Fritz.

Nadal’s bid for a calendar-year Grand Slam looked in danger when he required treatment for an abdominal injury that hampered his ability to serve.

But the 36-year-old found a way through it, raising his level in the deciding tiebreak to pick up a 19th consecutive Grand Slam match-win after 4hr 21min of play.

Nadal avenged his defeat to Fritz in the Indian Wells final which ended his 20-0 unbeaten start to the 2022 season in March.

“It’s obvious it’s been a tough afternoon against a great player; all the credit to Taylor who has been playing great the whole season. From my personal side was not an easy match at all so I’m just very happy to be in the semi-finals,” said Nadal, who will face Kyrgios in the semis.

“The abdominal, something is not going well. I had to find a way to serve a little bit different. For a lot of moments I was thinking maybe I will not be able to finish the match but the court, the energy is something else.”

‘I thought that ship had sailed’

Earlier on No.1 Court, a locked-in Kyrgios punched his ticket to the first Grand Slam semi-final of his career with a convincing 6-4, 6-3, 7-6(5) result against Chilean Cristian Garin.

The 40th-ranked Kyrgios, who was competing in his first major quarter-final since 2015, fired 35 winners, including 17 aces, and saved 8/9 break points en route to a 2hr 13min victory.

The 27-year-old is the first Australian man to make the Wimbledon semi-finals since Lleyton Hewitt in 2005 and is the first unseeded men’s semi-finalist at the All England Club since 2008.

“I never thought I’d be in a Grand Slam semi-final,” said Kyrgios after the win. “I thought that ship had sailed – that I might have wasted that window. I didn’t go about things great early on in my career. It’s great to put on a performance here.”

He later added in his press conference: “Just how things can change. There was a point where I was almost done with the sport. Obviously I posted this year about the kind of mental state I was in in 2019 when I was at the Australian Open with self-harm and suicidal thoughts and stuff.

“I'm sitting there today after the match... To be a semi-finalist at Wimbledon, it's a special accomplishment for everyone, but I think especially for me.”

Halep, Rybakina reach final four

2019 champion Halep was clinical in her 6-2, 6-4 rout of Amanda Anisimova in the quarters, which earned her a place in the third Wimbledon semi-final of her career.

The Romanian has now won her last 12 consecutive matches at Wimbledon and is braced for a stiff challenge from No.17 seed Rybakina in the semis.

>> Women's semi-finals preview

Kazakhstan’s Rybakina advanced to a maiden major semi-final with a 4-6, 6-2, 6-3 success over Australia’s Ajla Tomljanovic.

The 23-year-old leads the women’s field at Wimbledon with 44 aces struck through five matches and takes a 1-2 head-to-head into her clash against Halep.

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