Rafael Nadal beaten by Gilles Muller in five-set Wimbledon classic

Posted July 11, 2017

After four hours and 48 minutes - exactly the same time the memorable 2008 final between Nadal and Roger Federer lasted - Muller eeked out a fifth match point.

The 22-year-old tennis ace from Odessa, Ukraine has turned heads this year at Wimbledon. It's stupid to say now, but maybe if I had that break at the first set, third or fourth game, maybe we are in a completely different situation.

Muller outplayed 15-times grand slam champion Nadal in the opening two sets but when the Spaniard fired himself up and began to play his best tennis it seemed his chance had gone. I just told myself keep it up and if it's not happening, he's just too good. "He's not an easy guy to play - tactics aren't easy against him". The Djokovic-Mannarino fourth-rounder was postponed until Tuesday; it had been scheduled to be played on No. 1 Court after Nadal-Muller concluded. That cost me two sets against in the score. I am not saying anything could happen. He stepped a little farther behind the baseline to give himself more time to react.

Muller, who will play Croatian Marin Cilic next on Wednesday, could barely believe he'd taken out one of the game's all-time greats.

Nadal must beware Luxembourg lefty Muller

But Muller, who was the first player to beat a raw Nadal at Wimbledon back in 2005, repeated the trick 12 years later by triumphing 15-13 in an epic fifth set which lasted two and a quarter hours.

In total, just seven points separated the players and Nadal actually won more - 198 to Muller's 191.

"I had some important break points, these kind of break points are nearly match points", Nadal added. I make few mistakes, yeah, especially one that I went to the net. "I felt it was a terrific match for me, I didn't expect it to go that easy".