4 hours and 48 minutes!
That’s how long it took to choose a winner between the 4th seeded Rafael Nadal and the 16th seeded Gilles Müller. In this crucial Round of 16 game, Nadal started as high favourite but the Luxembourgish Müller came out and won the first two sets, putting Nadal on the back foot early in the game.
However, the 31-year old Spaniard wasn’t going to give up that easy and he hit back well, winning both of the third and fourth sets and setting up what was going to be an epic final set. The 15-time Grand Slam winner was still favourite coming into the 5th set as he has played marathon games many times in his career.
On the other hand, Müller happens to be the most successful tennis player to have originated from his country and he chose the age of 34 to record his best ever Wimbledon result, reaching the quarter finals of this tournament for the first time in his career, into his 17th year since he turned pro!
Some may say he’s too old for the game but remember, he also recorded his highest ever world ranking (26) a couple of months back. However, he played much better than 26th in the world today, as he kept putting in big serve after another, not allowing Nadal to break him in the final set.
We went past 7-7, 8-8, 9-9, 10-10, 11-11, 12-12, and even 13-13, unable to get anything to separate these two. While Nadal had more experience in such pressure situations, it was Müller who seemed to be able to remain calm for the big points.
Leading 14-13, Müller finally managed to break Nadal’s serve and he couldn’t believe what he had just done – defeated Rafael Nadal, 12 years after the only other time he beat him (Wimbledon 2005). Half a minute later, when he realized what he had just done, he managed to let out a smile and he definitely won’t be getting any sleep tonight. Well done Gilles Müller!