Defending champion Rafael Nadal overcame an aching left foot to reach the quarterfinals at Wimbledon with a 7-6 (6), 3-6, 7-6 (4), 6-4 win over Juan Martin del Potro on Monday.

Grimacing in pain, the Spaniard took a medical timeout after hurting his left foot in the game before the first set tiebreaker. A trainer sprayed the foot and taped it up.

Nadal fell behind 3-0 in the tiebreaker and was limping between points, but saved a set point at 6-5 down and took the tiebreaker on his fourth set point when Del Potro double-faulted.

After winning the second set, Del Potro took his own medical timeout after slipping and falling at the baseline at 2-2 in the third, laying on the ground for several seconds and grabbing his left hip. After treatment in the locker room, Del Potro came back and didn’t seem to be affected.

Nadal broke for the first time in the match to go up 3-2 in the fourth set with a forehand winner down the line. He maintained the advantage and served out the match at love after nearly four hours of play. Nadal finished with 61 winners to just 16 errors.

Nadal said he initially thought he might have broken his foot and would have to retire from the match. “I felt something that like crushed there in the back of the foot outside,” he said, adding that the tape helped stabilise the foot for the rest of the match.

Nadal said he would undergo an MRI and was “worried” whether he would be fit for Wednesday’s quarterfinal match against Mardy Fish. “I don’t know,” he said. “I cannot predict the future. ... Let’s see what’s going on and let’s see how the MRI looks. “And after, let’s see if we have the chance to recover for Wednesday.”

Keywords: Wimbledon 2011

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