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Wimbledon men • 4th Round

Rafael Nadal - Gilles Muller
Wimbledon men - 10 July 2017

Wimbledon – Follow the Tennis match between Rafael Nadal and Gilles Muller live with Eurosport. The match starts at 22:00 on 10 July 2017. Our live coverage lets you follow all the key moments as they happen.
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But let's not finish with nonsense of that ilk; instead, let's glory in the idea that another human being just allowed Rafa Nadal to come back form two-sets down, then outplayed and outlasted him in the final set, at a Slam. Well played Gilles Simon, and well played those who stayed with me - see you tomorrow!


Meanwhile, the biggest obstacle to Andy Murray's progress has been removed.


Muller says he didn't feel as though he was playing badly in the third and fourth sets, so just told himself to keep it up. He says he hasn't really realised what's happened, and on the court was worried the game would be called for the night pretty soon. Anyway, he plays Marin Cilic next.


"Gilles, how do you feel?"



Nadal looks choked, but mensch that he is, he waits for Muller and the two leave together; Nadal then pauses to sign autographs.


Nadal 3-6 4-6 6-3 6-4 13-15 Muller

Nadal serves to stay in the competition for the tenth time, and for seems like the eleventh time, loses the first point, netting a backhand from close by. Then, Muller agai comes to the net at the right moment, meeting a backhand with his forehand and running through a winner; pressure for both men. Muller blinks, hitting a forehand long, AND THEN NADAL GETS RIGHT UNDER ONE OF HIS OWN! Off goes the ball somewhere into the sky, and that's matchpoint number five!



Nadal 3-6 4-6 6-3 6-4 13-14 Muller

Nadal gets himself to 15-all, but then can't get the meat of his racket onto a serve down the T. Apparently the longest rally of the match is 12 shots, which tells you how successfully Muller has imposed his will and a backhand volley restores his lead.


Nadal 3-6 4-6 6-3 6-4 13-13 Muller

What Nadal wouldn't give for a comfy hold; I'd not be averse to one myself, and we all know who's really suffering here. Quickly, he gets to 30-0, then a solid serve into the body can't even be blocked back and another similar one allows that forehand to power through.


Nadal 3-6 4-6 6-3 6-4 12-13 Muller

I believe the colour-commentator is Jamie Baker, not Jamie Murray ... apologies to all concerned. Nadal is struggling to make any impression on Muller's serve now, and a boomer out wide is converted via volley to complete a love game.


Nadal 3-6 4-6 6-3 6-4 12-12 Muller

Murray reckons fatigue will be more mental than physical, and we've seen Muller lose focus but regain it shortly afterwards. Anyway, Nadal opens this 24th game with a bullet of a serve, but his next is right there for Muller, who nails it past him. And does likewise with a forehand at the net! Two points away again!

Nadal rams an ace down the middle ... Muller challenges ... the ball caught the back line of the service box, close to the angle. Then, a second serve ace - a high kicker, Nadal's 23rd of the match - another punishing serve, and we're all-square. The crowd deem this a suitable time for a wave; stop the match, boot them all out, and continue behind closed doors. "It's not the changeover," chastises the umpire.


Nadal 3-6 4-6 6-3 6-4 11-12 Muller

For the first time in ages Nadal wins the opening point of a Muller service game, but Muller is cool in response. Less so thereafter but, poised to hit a drop-shot, changing his mind at the last second and paying the price; 15-30.

Nadal, though, is soon cursing himself when he nets a short ball - that was a chance - and Muller is back in control when he serve-volleys twice, smashing and placing his way to taking the lead once more.


Nadal 3-6 4-6 6-3 6-4 11-11 Muller

Nadal will serve to stay in the match, for, er, the seventh time. I wonder how long they can play out here, and the match actually stops before the game begins because there's a reflection, part of the temporary structure at the top of the stadium, that's mithering Nadal. So the umpire asks the spectators in front of it to stand up, it's covered in some kind of sarong, and off we go.

Again, Nadal loses the first point of the game ... and when Muller comes into the next off a big forehand, the second too. Two points....

Muller slices a backhand wide, then sends another long, and a big forehand forces game-point, sealed with a service winner. For the nowt it's worth, I agree with Jamie Murray that Muller has played better in the final set, but Nadal just looks the likelier winner because, er, he's Nadal.


Nadal 3-6 4-6 6-3 6-4 10-11 Muller

At 15-all Nadal reckons a service is out, but has no challenges ... he's wrong, and moments later Muller is back in front.


Nadal 3-6 4-6 6-3 6-4 10-10 Muller

Not for the first time or anything like it, Muller wins the first point on Nadal's serve, then following an exchange at the net, nadal leaps into another backhand smash ... and this time sends it wide! Muller is two points away! Nadal, though, simply gets on with things, serving wide - on a second serve - and bashing a cross-courter to win the point. Next, another second serve, but again Muller doesn't attack and Nadal zetzes a froehand winner. This is breathless stuff, all the more so when Muller arranges his third matchpoint ... only for Nadal to send him wide on the backhand, then charge into the net and annihilate a volley into the opposite corner. Deuce!

Another serve out wide, and just as Muller moves back towards the T after returning it, the ball speeds towards that same spot. Then, Nadal slices down the line - it looks enough to win the point - but what a wingspan! Muller extends an arm and Nadal can't respond! Deuce again; matchpoint again, when Muller gets to the net first and Nadal slips as he puts away his volley, not that it wouldn't have been a winner anyway. Nadal serves into the body, this time Muller gives it his all, and the ball shoots off the frame! This is fantastic, I can barely feel my fingers!

Muller nets a forehand, Nadal then sends one of his own into the corner ... only to be surprised by what comes back ... only to play a staggeringly brilliant half-volley from around his ankles to send the ball spinning away for a winner. Nadal is quite excited.


Nadal 3-6 4-6 6-3 6-4 9-10 Muller

At 15-0, Nadal picks a direction, going wide and nailing a forehand return. But it looks not to matter, because more phenomenal serving gives Muller 40-15. Except Nadal then dispenses an ankle-biting return, slices his way into the net, and volleys well enough to earn another deuce. He can't take advantage of a second serve though, but another slice means Muller arrives at the ball too early, forced to contort it when hitting his forehand; he goes long, and that's break-point! Muller then opts to stay back so Nadal asks the question, zoning in ... and what a passing shot that is from Muller! Deuce! He gets no reward though, the wind catching a forehand and dipping it in; he saves the ensuing break-point, just. But, aaaarrrgh! Muller misses a simply putaway - is that a noun? - only for Nadal to overhit a forehand after taking control of the point with a lusty deep return.

Let's have a paragraph break, the equivalent of wiping ourselves down with a towel ... and Muller drops short with a volley; Nadal pounces like a hyena, curving a winner down the line. Then, after a fault, a serve is called out ... only for the umpire to pounce with a correction! Nadal challenges, but the big man was right! And Muller then bangs a forehand cross-court when Nadal drops short ... after saving four breakpoints - how many do that against Nadal - he has a game-point! Which he takes with an ace! This is terrifying, invigorating, compelling stuff! The state of these two!


Nadal 3-6 4-6 6-3 6-4 9-9 Muller

Nadal motors through another service game as we see a man in the crowd - an adult - with his face painted in Wimbledon colours.


Nadal 3-6 4-6 6-3 6-4 8-9 Muller

Lovely from Muller, forcing Nadal wide with his serve, then pounding his next shot back into that same corner, one his man is back central. That gives him 30-0, but then two unforced errors put him back under pressure; will he try a serve down the T again? No! He goes out wide, Nadal can't get it back, and then a backhand down the line looks set to settle the game ... but Nadal's length is excellent in response, and Miller blinks first, hitting a forehand wide; deuce. Ha! Muller mops up short order, confirming his advantage with an ace! His composure is unreal.


Nadal 3-6 4-6 6-3 6-4 8-8 Muller

Nadal tires a lob on the run to win the first point of the game ... Muller leaps to deflect a smash. But an ace restores equilibrium, and it's quickly 30-15. Then Muller can't control a backhand return, goes long with a forehand, and we're back level; we've been going three and three-quarter hours.


Nadal is still struggling when Muller gets his first serve in and at 40-0 he gambles, moving towards his forehand. He's wrong, but Muller strays wide and a big forehand gets him into the game, reinforced with a backhand return facilitated by a deep starting position; suddenly, pressure! Immediately, a service winner!


Nadal runs around his backhand when in perfect position to hit it, finds the net, and is behind in yet another service game. But Muller's slice in the next point just fails to sneak over, an ace backs it up - Nadal's 20th of the match - only for him to beaten with a forehand after a horribly short second serve. It doesn't matter, though, two big serves enough for seven apiece.


Well done Muller, two big serves doing the work and nosing him ahead once more! He's been wonderful today, in the fifth set especially. 7-6 to him.


Ace Muller! Brilliant! Down the middle having gone wide so often of late, and that's Nadal's first break-point of the set gone.


at 30-15 Nadal reckons he's a chance on a forehand return out wide; he clips the top of the net and chastises himself accordingly. But the danger for Muller is having to rally, and Nadal's slice gulls him into netting a backhand of his own; the pressure ramps up when he then serves into the net. So, with Nadal well back, he tries a drop-shot, netting that too, and from 40-15 has to face a deuce; his serve offers Nadal a chance, but he can't take it. 'Nadal has two ways to win the match - he can play great or Muller can lose it. Muller can only win by playing great," says my tennis coach buddy, as Muller tightens, loses his advantage, and then shanks a forehand miles wide; break-point Nadal....


Again, Muller wins the first point of Nadal's service-game, but a serve into the body puts him in control of the next point. Muller, though, reads the drop-shot he plays, forcing a spinning backhand smash right on top of the next. Nadal is so, so good, up there with the finest competitors in the history of sport, but Muller is right there with him this evening and earns himself 30-all with a big forehand. Nadal, though, serves out wide, comes in, and takes a backhand volley out of the air like it's nothing; it is not nothing, and shortly afterwards it's six-all. Muller, though, still looks likelier to break. What a sentence that is to type!


I wonder if Muller feels his chance has gone ... I'm an idiot, he wins a magical rally with a backhand pick-up. Quickly, it's 40-0; the standard in this final set has been remarkable, especially from Muller who won't know much about these circumstances. Maybe it's for the best! A drop-shot cements a delicious love game!


Muller goes wide and long with a return ... what an absolute [rude word] Nadal is, what a comeback ... and there's the ace to take the game! THIS IS SUCH A MATCH! 5-5, final set!


Nadal serves out wide to the forehand, course he does! And Muller nets his return! Deuce!


Please forgive me, but those exclamations were necessary. Nadal booms an ace down the middle; one matchpoint saved.


Normal service. Muller drives a backhand down the line ... but wide ... and then Nadal double-faults!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 15-40!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Then a net cord sits one up for Muller, he punishes a backhand back across it, and he's two points away!


Well, Nadal goes long with a forehand...


Nadal is about to serve to stay in the championships ... can Muller nail a return or two?


Muller is serving really well now, used to where Nadal's standing, and at 4-4 both eases and powers to 30-0. Then, 40-0 ahead, he outlasts Nadal in a rally and he's a game away!


Muller has some stones, serving superbly and covering the next adroitly to power ahead once more in this final set; he leads 4-3.


Muller is not messing about, holding easily enough to get a 3-2 lead.


In the two sets that he won, Muller was serving down the middle; Nadal dropping back meant he had to change up, because more time to see them meant more time to hit decent returns. And out wide, there's more margin for error.


Oh I say! Nadal appears to have a backhand! At 40-30, he drills one obscenely hard past the advancing Muller; it's not even that far from him, but the power means he can't even contemplate considering playing it. 1-1.


After both players nip out to gather themselves, Muller takes the first game of the final set; he doesn't look ready to collapse, but Nadal does look ready to seize whatever crumb he's offered and turn it into a matchwinning cake.


Nadal races to 30-0, winning the second point of the game by way of volley ... Murray notes how good he is at deciding when to come in. And he's pretty good at winners from the baseline too, successive iterations of which seal the set! What a disquietingly brilliant competitor he is!


Muller holds, so Nadal will serve for the fourth set at 5-4.


Muller just couldn't hang on long enough; his best lasted two sets, and though he's a chance in a final-set shoot-out, you cannae see it. Nadal holds to 15, moving beautifully, and he's got 5-3 in set three.


A lovely touch from Nadal, an oblique backhand volley, gets him into Muller's service game and then, at 0-30, a succession of punishing forehands into the backhand corner bring up three break points. He ruins the first, drilling a further forehand into the net, loses the second thanks to a serve out wide and leaping volley, and a third thanks a deep backhand and topspin forehand. Well played, Gilles Muller! But oh dear! Nadal quickly earns advantage, and standing back to give himself a split-second longer on the serve, forced Muller to hit into the net. Jamie Murray reckons this tactic is forcing Muller to go for more - wide onto the backhand, for example - and consequently Nadal is getting into more points. He leads 3-2 with the break.


Huge hold from Muller who, after a succession of deuces, leads 2-1 in the third set.


Muller serves and volleys, reckons he's done enough; Nadal lobs him wondrously. And 0-15 is soon 0-30, and though Muller wins the next point, a forehand return is far too good for him as he moves to the net; 15-40. But a tremendous get from Muller and a long backhand give us deuce....


Important hold for Muller, whose wingspan is incredible even for someone 6"4. He gets to the net and glances a volley into open court, so now leads 1-0 in the third.


Nadal isn't arsed, zooming to 40-0. But then he chucks in his first double of the match, and after a return forces him back, nets a forehand from inside the backhand corner! No matter; cries of "Vamos!" soon fill the air, as Muller nets a forehand of his own, enough to give Nadal the set. 2-1 it is, and the balance has changed.


Easy hold for Nadal, so at 2-5, Muller must serve to stay in the set. At 40-30, Nadal leaps away to his forehand - perhaps he's got a read now - gets really good height on the shot, and earns deuce. But Muller wins the next point, then Nadal guesses again, going central; Muller fires wide, and yerman will have to serve for it.


Muller isn't holding as easily now, and needs to land a gibongous forehand on the run to bring up advantage. He converts, to trail 2-4.


Nadal is buzzing like a cow now, a-whoopin and a-hollerin' when he takes a 4-1 lead.


Nadal leads 2-1, and a decent return allows him to pass down the line. So Muller chucks in a slice serve, a move he's tried rarely enough such that Nadal doesn't pick it. Nonetheless Nadal senses an opportunity, moving to the net to hit a forehand winner, and then Muller goes long with a forehand ... break point, of which Nadal is 0-3 this afternoon. And another forehand, a mighty forehand, does the necessary! 3-1 Nadal, and the comeback is afoot!


A tennis coach mate just messaged saying "everything you've got on Nadal here" but I just can't see it. He's not getting close to Muller's serve and, amazingly, looks clueless.


Rafael Nadal is in all sorts! Muller cracks a backhand onto the line, Nadal can't get it back and that's two sets to him! What on earth! Sure he's a good player who's won ten matches on grass this year, but Nadal has only made four unforced errors, which is to say Muller's forcing them out of him and Nadal isn't close to finding an answer!


Well! Nadal finds himself break-point down and serves a double-fault! Muller will serve for the second set at 5-4!


An astonishing rally sees Nadal outlast Muller, and he wins the next point too for a 0-30 advantage; Muller goes big and wide, but misses. This is a chance. Nadal can't take it in the first instance though, failing to read the serve and netting a backhand; but then goes down the line with a backhand and Muller nets. Two break points ... both saved, the second with yet another service winner! And in short order, it's 4-4! Muller is buzzing!


Muller has lost just four points when his first serve has landed in. It's 3-3, and Nadal is searching for something.


Nadal is absolutely hating Muller; he just can't get a read on his serve. it's 2-2 in the second set, and if at some point yerman puts together a couple of returns, that might be all he needs. And if we get to a breaker, it might not even need that.


I suppose Muller is not totally dissimilar to Brown and Kyrgios, both of whom beat Nadal here. He might not have the touch of those two, but the serve and power are there.


Muller's serving is a joke. In seconds he's got three set points, earned with an ace, and slices one into the body to which Nadal can only get a frame! 33 minutes, 6-3, and Muller made short work of that! So what of Nadal? He's looked magical so far, but then who has he played? Perhaps he needed a first-week workout to get into the tournament.


Meanwhile, Nadal is under the pump! I know! He's not hitting the ball well at all, Muller really is - especially on serve - and leads 5-3! He'll serve for the set in a moment...


Muller is doing really well here, 3-2 ahead on serve.


Nadal cracked his head on the lintel of a door, jumping before he came out. That was pretty good. He's yet to drop a set in this tournament, and has been its best player so far. A pl semi between him and Murrance would be immense.