The semi-final line-up: Kevin Anderson vs John Isner; Rafael Nadal vs Novak Djokovic
It was a case of down but definitely not out as a Rafael Nadal kept picking himself off a slippery and dusty Centre Court surface to storm into the Wimbledon semi-finals with a pulsating 7-5, 6-7(7), 4-6, 6-4, 6-4 over Juan Martin del Potro.
Just 90 minutes after defending champion Roger Federer was sensationally knocked out by South African Kevin Anderson on Wednesday, it seemed as if the grasscourt major would lose its top two seeds as Argentine Del Potro took a two-sets-to-one lead.
It was not as if Nadal was playing badly as he had lost only nine points on serve before heading into the ninth game of the second set.
But just before that game started, Federer’s shock 2-6, 6-7(5), 7-5, 6-4, 13-11 demise was flashed up on the giant on-court scoreboard and it was as if that threw the Spaniard off his stride and he fluffed his lines to drop his serve.
After Nadal squandered four set points in the third set tiebreak, with a double fault on one of them, Del Potro made him pay as he pounced on his first chance to raise the prospect of another astonishing upset on day nine of the championships.
But the second seed stayed alive by taking the fourth set before the gripping drama continued in an electrifying deciding set in which both players were left diving after volleys and slipping over as they chased after blinding winners.
Nadal ended the four hour and 48 minute thriller with a backhand volley winner past a lunging Del Potro who ended the contest lying flat on his stomach.
Next up for the Spaniard is a blockbuster last four showdown with Serb Novak Djokovic, who got the better of Japan's Kei Nishikori 6-3, 3-6, 6-2, 6-2 on centre court to reach the semi-finals for the eighth time.
Isner beats Raonic to reach first Grand Slam semi-final
American John Isner reached his first Grand Slam semi-final as he beat Canadian Milos Raonic 6-7(5) 7-6(7) 6-4 6-3 in a clash of the giants at Wimbledon on Wednesday.
The 33-year-old saved two set points in the second set tiebreak to avoid going two sets down and then took control of the match to continue his dream run at the All England Club.
Isner has taken 41 Grand Slams to reach his first semi-final — one less than compatriot Sam Querrey who reached the milestone a year ago at Wimbledon.
He had never gone beyond the third round at Wimbledon in nine previous attempts but has been in sparkling form this time and will harbour genuine hopes of going at least a stage further with South African Kevin Anderson, rather than eight-time champion Roger Federer, waiting in the semis.
Once he levelled the match against 2016 runner-up Raonic, ninth seed Isner began to dominate and he gained the first service break of the match at 2-2 in the third set when he crunched a deep return that the Canadian could not handle.
Isner wobbled when serving at 5-4, a double-fault giving Raonic a rare break point, but he salvaged the situation with a booming ace before moving a set from victory.
In a slightly surreal atmosphere, with hundreds of empty seats on Court One due to England’s soccer World Cup semi-final with Croatia having kicked off, Isner dominated the fourth.
He moved 5-3 ahead with another break and spared himself any nerves as he broke Raonic again to seal the win.