Rafael Nadal tired of fitness talk as Simona Halep eyes semi-finals


Nadal is halfway to the first Grand Slam on the calendar by a man since Rod Laver in 1969. He faces Taylor Fritz in the quarterfinals at Wimbledon.

Rafael Nadal won his third and fourth round matches in straight sets after a tough start at Wimbledon. PA

London: Rafael Nadal shrugged off fresh concerns over his fitness as he aimed for a place in the semi-finals of Wimbledon on Wednesday.

The 36-year-old Spaniard played his last All England Club clash against Botic van de Zandschulp on Monday with a strapping on his abdomen.

Only last month he won a 14th French Open with his troublesome left foot anesthetized before undergoing life-saving treatment.

“I’m a little tired of talking about my body, about all the problems I have,” Nadal said. “I prefer not to talk about it now.

“Right now I’m healthy enough to keep going and fighting for the things I want.”

Nadal is halfway to the first Grand Slam on the calendar by a man since Rod Laver in 1969.

On Wednesday, he will look to reach the semi-finals for the eighth time against the in-form Taylor Fritz.

The American is in the last eight of a Slam for the first time and has yet to drop a set.

The 24-year-old beat Nadal in the Indian Wells Masters final earlier this year as the Spaniard suffered from a cracked rib.

‘Execution completed’

The loss ended his 20-game winning streak and forced him to take a six-week rest before the clay-court season.

Fritz, whose mother played at Wimbledon, said facing Nadal meant all-out attack.

In the semi-finals, the Australian Nick Kyrgios or the Chilean Cristian Garin will wait.

Despite the presence of Nadal and six-time champion Novak Djokovic in the draw, Kyrgios arguably grabbed the headlines.

He is back in the Wimbledon quarter-finals for the first time since 2014, when he mocked his world No. 144 ranking to stun Nadal.

The 27-year-old took his aces count past the 100 mark and reached a total of 257 winners in four rounds.

He has also been embroiled in controversy. Kyrgios has been described as having an “evil side” and as a “bully” by third-round rival Stefanos Tsitsipas.

“I’m sitting here again in the Wimbledon quarter-finals, and I just know there are so many people who are so upset,” Kyrgios said.

The 40th-ranked player will take part in Wednesday’s game just a day after reports emerged in Australia that he would face a court appearance in August over an assault allegation.

“Upset People”

Garin, ranked 43rd, saved two match points to beat Australia’s Alex de Minaur in a grueling round of 16 draw that lasted four hours and 34 minutes.

Defending champion Djokovic and Britain’s Cameron Norrie will meet in the other semi-final after coming through tough matches in five sets on Tuesday.

In Wednesday’s women’s quarterfinals, 2019 champion Simona Halep takes on Amanda Anisimova of the United States.

Halep, who works with former Serena Williams coach Patrick Mouratoglou, lost just three games to defeat fourth-seeded Paula Badosa in the final round.

The Romanian missed the 2021 Championships through injury but is showing up in worrying form at the All England Club, advancing to the quarter-finals for the fifth time.

Anisimova is back in the last eight of a Slam for the first time since reaching the French Open semi-finals in 2019 after beating Halep in the quarter-finals.

Halep beat the American on grass in Bad Homburg last month.

In the other quarter-final of the day, Australian Ajla Tomljanovic will face Elena Rybakina of Kazakhstan.

Tomljanovic also made the last eight in 2021, when she was beaten by eventual champion Ashleigh Barty.

Russian-born Rybakina didn’t drop a set as she made her second Grand Slam quarter-final after also reaching the last eight at the 2021 French Open.

‘It’s a gift’

Standing 1.84 meters (six feet), Rybakina, who still lives in Moscow, has beaten 29 aces at the tournament so far.

In Monday’s win over Petra Martic, she landed the second fastest serve in the women’s tournament – 122 miles (196 kilometers) per hour.

“I’ve never compared myself to anyone. I just know I have this gift. I’m tall and I play really fast,” Rybakina said.

World number two Ons Jabeur and unseeded Tatjana Maria secured their place in the semi-finals on Tuesday.

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