After the smoke of a four-hour, 47-minute battle cleared, Gilles Muller emerged as the victor over Rafael Nadal 6-3 6-4 3-6 4-6 15-13 in an epic fourth-round match at Centre Court at Wimbledon.
Muller, who has been struggling with injuries but is having a career year this season, kept his composure despite Nadal’s scurrying comeback in the last three sets and eventually outlasted Nadal in a gripping final set that took more than two hours to finish.
“In the last two match points, I just said give it 100%,” said Muller, who sealed his first ever Wimbledon quarter-final appearance.
“[This match is] definitely the biggest win [of my career], I would say,” Muller said. “I had a big injury [elbow] in 2013 and wasn’t sure if I was going to be able to come back. I’ve played many great matches since then, but this is definitely the biggest victory since I came back. Especially at this stage of a Grand Slam, playing one of the guys who are dominating tennis again this year.”
The 34-year-old world number 26 entered the season without ATP titles but won the Sydney International last January and won at the grass court in the Rosmalen Championships last June.
His win against Nadal was his 11th win on grass court this year, which is more than any other player this season.
Nadal, seeded second, lost to Muller at Wimbledon for the second time in his career as he also bowed down to the Luxembourg native as a 19-year-old 12 years ago.
“It was not my best match against a very uncomfortable opponent,” said Nadal after his fourth-round loss to Muller.
“Well done to him. He played great, especially in the fifth set, but I fought to the last ball,” said Nadal, who was targeting his third career Wimbledon title.
In the women’s division, world number one Angelique Kerber got downed by Garbine Muguruza in the fourth round, and will lose her ranking after the competition.