Wimbledon: Muller sends Nadal home

Nadal must beware Luxembourg lefty Muller

Rafael Nadal's challenge for a third Wimbledon crown ended in heart-breaking fashion as relentless Luxembourger Gilles Muller won a nerve-jangling fourth-round classic 6-3 6-4 3-6 4-6 15-13 on Monday.

Djokovic had been due to take on Adrian Mannarino on No1 Court after the conclusion of Nadal and Muller's clash.

But that duo played on and on, past 8 p.m., when the descending sun's reflection off a piece of the arena bothered Nadal so much that he held up action and chair umpire Ali Nili asked spectators to stand in the way and block the rays.

Still the players battled on until 28th game of a gruelling, but absorbing contest. There was more of the same in the second set. Nope, instead, most of you are probably only here because you want to see Rafael Nadal - one of the finest players of his generation and a Wimbledon champions in 2008 and 2010 - crack his head on a doorframe.

A miss-hit forehand gave Muller two more match points and this time he finished the job as a tired Nadal went long. He also fared better on his own serve, finishing with 23 aces, an unusually high total for Nadal and only seven fewer than Muller.

There were no breaks in a captivating deciding set until 15-time grand slam champion Nadal finally cracked after saving four match points, with world number 26 Muller winning 6-3 6-4 3-6 4-6 15-13 in four hours and 47 minutes. Nadal's four-point, game-ending, match-saving flourish ended with a 120 miles per hour (194 kph) service victor and a 121 miles per hour ace.

The match, of course, was not yet over. "When I had the last two match points, I thought I just had to give it a shot". Nadal deleted the first with a volley victor, and the second disappeared when Muller shanked a return.

He took the first two sets 6-6 6-4 and Nadal came back forcefully to take the next two in a similar scoreline.

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