The light was fading at the end of day nine, but not in Spanish eyes.
LONDON: Juan Martin del Potro claimed Wednesday that Wimbledon conqueror Rafael Nadal has more weapons at his disposal than any other player after losing a five-set Wimbledon quarter-final epic. "I've only lost one match", said Nadal. But the 6ft 6in Tower from Tandil proved the most stubborn of intruders, putting 33 aces on him in total.
The Argentine, who leads the stubborn baseliner 4-3 in previous encounters, levelled on his second break point and it went to 5-5, but Simon broke again to take the first set off Del Potro in the tournament so far.
They were soon back in the trenches, as one grinding rally followed another, each of them for a hint of weakness across the net.
That straight sets loss was the fifth-seeded del Potro's 10th defeat in 15 meetings against the former world number one. Del Potro said. "My body feels OK".
But he persevered through dark times and is rewarded with his second successive Slam quarter-final - the first time he has done that since reaching the last eight at both the Australian Open and Roland Garros in 2012.
In the next game, Nadal staved off two break points, the first when he used his never-give-up-on-a-ball defence to stretch a point and del Potro pushed a forehand way long.
Del Potro ended the match prostrate on the grass as Nadal held his arms aloft, before clambering over the net for a consoling, and exhausted, hug.
"In the fifth set it was so hard to stop him", said Nadal.
The clash between Del Potro's thunderous forehand and Nadal's supreme defensive skills was a stalemate until the 12th game of the opening set, when the Spaniard pounced. He needed something to shift the momentum back his way.
Nadal could have gone up two sets to none after leading 6-3 in the tiebreaker.
Nadal's feet were twinkling.
Nadal slipped mid-court twice in the fifth game, but stayed upright to break with a cracking angled backhand. Nadal broke for 3-2 but had to save break points in the sixth and eighth games before securing a memorable victory.
"I am very happy the way that I survived a lot of important points in that fifth set", Nadal stated. There could be no argument with that.
Kevin Anderson proved that Roger Federer is not unbeatable at Wimbledon with a stunning win.
Eventually he clinched a 7-5 6-7 (7/9) 4-6 6-4 6-4 victory after four hours and 47 minutes.
Next up for the Spaniard is a blockbuster last four showdown with Novak Djokovic.