Rafael Nadal’s hopes of winning a third Wimbledon title are over for another year after an epic five-set defeat by 16th seed Gilles Muller of Luxembourg.
The 15-time major champion fought back from two sets down before Muller took a fifth match point to win 6-3, 6-4, 3-6, 4-6, 15-13 in 4 hours and 47 minutes. It ended the Spaniard’s bid to win back-to-back French Open and Wimbledon titles for a joint-record third time. Muller, 34, will play Croatia’s seventh seed Marin Cilic in the last eight.
Both Nadal and Muller received a standing ovation and rapturous applause after the longest and arguably finest match of this year’s tournament.
Nadal’s mental resilience and physical endurance has long been lauded, but the cool-headed Muller impressively refused to buckle as he finally claimed his fifth match point over an hour and a half after missing his first.
Nadal served out nine games to stay in the contest as the pair exchanged 32 holds in a gripping finale. A tense climax saw the Spaniard save two match points to level at 5-5 and miss four break points of his own at 9-9. Still the drama continued as Muller failed to convert two more match points at 10-9, until he eventually completed the best win of his career.
Novak Djokovic’s match against unseeded Frenchman Adrian Mannarino, scheduled as the third match on Court One, was postponed until Tuesday as a result.