Nadal edged out in epic five-set encounter
Gilles Muller bt Rafael Nadal 6-3 6-4 3-6 4-6 15-13
Two-time Wimbledon champion Rafael Nadal’s dreams of landing a third title were shattered when he was defeated by 16th seed Gilles Muller in a five-set thriller.
The Spaniard battle back from two sets down to square the match on Court No. 1 but in an epic deciding set, his opponent from Luxembourg held his nerve to clinch a remarkable triumph.
One of the pre-tournament favourites, Nadal had saved four match points before finally succumbing to the tenacious Muller in a match which lasted four hours and 48 minutes.
Fans’ favourite Nadal is renowned for his never-say-attitude but Muller matched him both physically and mentally to earn the biggest win of his career.
His reward for producing the shock of this year’s tournament is a quarter-final against No. 7 seed Marin Cilic on Wednesday.
“I’m delighted,” said Muller.
“It was a long match. I did really well in the first two sets then Rafa stepped it up. I didn’t feel I was playing bad in the third and fourth sets and told myself to keep it up.
“In the end it’s just a matter of a few points here and there. I haven’t really realised just what happened.”
Despite his obvious disappointment at losing, former champion Nadal showed his class by waiting to leave the court alongside Muller and then taking time to sign autographs for supporters.
Nadal’s defeat will have been of particular interest to Andy Murray, the defending champion having been due to face the Spaniard at the semi-final stage of this year’s championship.
Roger Federer, chasing his 19th Grand Slam title, completed a much smoother passage into the last eight.
The Swiss star defeated world No. 11 Grigor Dimitrov 6-4 6-2 6-4 in a match which lasted just over an hour-and-a-half.
“He did give me some opportunities and I was happy to take advantage of them,” Federer said.