Wimbledon: Nadal dispatches Van de Zandschulp to set up Fritz rematch
Rafael Nadal will face Taylor Fritz in the quarter-finals at Wimbledon after marking his 350th grand slam match with a win over Botic van de Zandschulp.
Nadal is in the hunt for a clean sweep of the majors this season and the two-time Wimbledon champion remained on course with Monday's victory, though he ultimately needed a third-set tie-break to get the job done 6-4 6-2 7-6 (8-6).
The 36-year-old's wobble lasted the whole third set, with Nadal squandering the chance to serve out the victory before he gave up three match points.
But Nadal would not let a fourth opportunity slip from his grasp, and Fritz, who beat Jason Kubler in straight sets, is next up.
The American won his last meeting with Nadal, defeating the great Spaniard in the Indian Wells Masters earlier this season.
Nadal set the tone by forcing Van de Zandschulp to salvage two break points in the Dutchman's first service game.
Set one went Nadal's way with under 45 minutes played when he claimed the match's first break, and Van de Zandschulp was swiftly 2-0 down at the start of the second, which the Spaniard went on to dominate.
The 22-time grand slam champion endured a wobble at the start of the third when he squandered a 40-0 lead on his own serve.
Nadal struck straight back, and a second break followed when the world number four reeled off an exquisite, cushioned cross-court winner.
Yet Van de Zandschulp was handed a reprieve, with a double fault and some sloppy shots seeing Nadal fail to serve out the win.
Nadal seemed to have the edge in the tie-break when he came out on top in a wicked rally, yet he saw three match points escape before, finally, an overhit Van de Zandschulp volley sent him into an eighth Wimbledon quarter-final.
Data slam: Another milestone up for Nadal
Nadal has now played in 350 singles matches at grand slam events, becoming just the third man to do so in the Open Era, behind fellow greats Novak Djokovic (378) and Roger Federer (429).
He has won his first 18 grand slam matches in 2022. In the Open Era, only Djokovic (last year) and Rod Laver (1969) have won more matches at the majors from the start of the season.
Nadal – 29/17
Van de Zandschulp – 31/34
Nadal – 9/2
Van de Zandschulp – 11/7
BREAK POINTS WON
Nadal – 5/11
Van de Zandschulp – 2/4