Nadal ignores body language at Wimbledon as Halep watches semifinals

Rafael Nadal has shaken off his newfound worries about his fitness as he aims for a place in the Wimbledon semi-final on Wednesday.

The 36-year-old Spaniard played his last-16 clash in the All England Club on Monday against Botic van de Zandschulp with bands across his stomach.

Last month, he won another 14th French Open with his troublesome left foot numb before undergoing career-saving treatment.

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

“For now, I’m healthy enough to keep going and fight for the things I want.”

Nadal is halfway through the first Grand Slam calendar since Rod Laver in 1969.

On Wednesday he will try to reach the semifinals for the eighth time when he takes on 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 defeated Nadal in the Indian Wells Masters final earlier this year when the Spaniard suffered a broken rib.

– ‘Execution ended’ –

That defeat ended his 20-game winning streak and forced him to take six weeks off before the clay-court season.

Fritz, whose mother played at Wimbledon, said a confrontation with Nadal meant a total attack.

Australian Nick Kyrgios or Chilean Cristian Garin await in the semifinals.

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

He is back in the quarter-finals of Wimbledon for the first time since 2014, when he mocked his 144th world ranking to stun Nadal.

The 27-year-old has taken his number of aces past 100, hitting a total of 257 winners in four rounds.

He has also been involved in controversy. Kyrgios was described as having a “bad side” and as a “bully” by third round rival Stefanos Tsitsipas.

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

The 40th player will enter Wednesday’s game, just a day after reports emerged in Australia that he will appear in court in August on a charge of assault.

– ‘Upset people’ –

Garin, in 43rd place, saved two match points to beat Australian Alex de Minaur in a grueling last-16 draw that lasted four hours and 34 minutes.

Defending champion Djokovic and Britain’s Cameron Norrie meet in the other semi-final after enduring a difficult five-setter on Tuesday.

In the women’s quarterfinals on Wednesday, champion Simona Halep will face Amanda Anisimova from the United States.

Halep, who teamed up 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 she is looking at the All England Club in ominous form and making it 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 semi-finals of the French Open in 2019 after beating Halep in the quarter-finals.

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

In the other quarterfinal of the day, Australian Ajla Tomljanovic will face Elena Rybakina from Kazakhstan.

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

Russian-born Rybakina didn’t drop a set as she reached a second Slam quarterfinal after also making the last eight at the 2021 French Open.

– ‘It’s a gift’ –

Rybakina, who still lives in Moscow, has an impressive height of 1.84 meters and has hit 29 aces during the tournament so far.

In Monday’s win over Petra Martic, she unleashed the women’s second-fastest serve – 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.

The number two in the world Ons Jabeur and the unseeded Tatjana Maria secured their place in the semifinals on Tuesday.

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