The match started well for the Spaniard when he broke the serve of his American opponent early in the first set. However, Fritz responded and played five consecutive games to win the first set 6-3.
With Fritz leading 4-3 in the second set, a trainer was called onto the field to evaluate the two-time Wimbledon champion. He eventually took a medical time out and left the court for treatment. Despite those difficulties, Nadal roared back to win the second as he broke in the final game to win 7-5, leveling the affair on one set.
After comfortably winning the third set 6-3, Fritz was on the brink of victory by taking a 5-4 lead in the fourth set, with Nadal turning a napkin to extend the match.
In the fifth, both players tied 4-4 before 24-year-old Fritz again found his way to a 5-4 lead and served Nadal to extend the game. As he did time and time again, the Spaniard played one more game to tie at 5-5 each and eventually forced a tiebreak before the game.
From there, Nadal drove past Fritz, leaping to a 5-0 lead before winning the tiebreak 10-4.
“The body in general fine, of course in the belly something is not right … I had to find a way to serve a little differently. A lot of times I thought that maybe I won’t be able to finish the game, but the field the energy (is) something different, so yes,” Nadal said in the interview on the field.
With the win, Nadal improves to 8-0 in quarter-finals at Wimbledon and becomes the third man in the Open Era to reach the semi-finals of Wimbledon singles aged 36 or over.
Nadal was forced to withdraw from 2021 Wimbledon Championships due to fatigue, bidding for a record-extending 23rd men’s grand slam title and third at the All England Lawn Tennis Club.
In the men’s other quarterfinals on Wednesday, Australian Nick Kyrgios defeated Chilean Cristian Garin in straight sets, 6-4 6-3 7-6 (7-5) to reach a semifinal for the first time in his career at a grand slam. The 27-year-old will also become the first male Australian player in 17 years to reach the Wimbledon semi-finals.
“I just thought I would never be in a grand slam semi-final. Honestly, I thought my ship had sailed. Obviously I haven’t done great things earlier in my career and maybe wasted that little window, but you know, (I’m) just really proud of the way I just came back here and with my team just to be able to put in a performance,” Kyrgios said after the game.
Nadal will face Kyrgios in the semi-finals on Friday at Center Court.