Rafa Nadal strolls in Murray semi battle
Rafael Nadal set up a mouthwatering semi-final with home favourite Andy Murray after strolling to a four-set win over American Mardy Fish on Court One this evening.
With third seed Roger Federer exiting to Jo Wilfried-Tsonga, the winner of this year's championships at SW19 could well come from either Murray or Nadal - who contested a semi-final here last summer.
If Nadal brings the same game he displayed in the first two sets this afternoon, Murray will have one hell of a fight on his hands to make his first Wimbledon final, although the Scot will present a much harder challenge than Fish, who disappointed at times today.
The first seed broke Fish three times in the opening set and showed no signs of a recurrence of his foot injury to put in some punishing forehands and move 2-0 up.
Fish upped his game to take the third but a clinical break at the start of the fourth was enough for Nadal to take the match 6-3 6-3 5-7 6-4 and reach a remarkable 16th major semi-final at the age of 25.
Nadal feared the ankle injury he suffered on Monday could have ended his title defence, but there was no hint of any physical impediment to his game today as he surged ahead from the off.
Fish had lost just one service game here before today's match, but that proved no obstacle to Nadal, who took advantage of his opponent's foolish decision to come into the net on break point in the first game by powering home an unstoppable forehand.
Nadal looked slightly shocked as news of Federer's defeat flashed up on the screens on court, but it did little to affect his concentration as he broke the underdog for a second time with some near-perfect tennis.
Nadal then suffered a shock break himself but immediately hit back, winning his opponent's service game for the third time after Fish netted to take the first set 6-3.
Fish hit a couple of forehand winners to give himself two break points at the start of the second set but he squandered both, clearing the baseline on both occasions.
The American was made to regret his failure soon after as Nadal broke to move 3-1 ahead.
Soon after Nadal served for the set and he did not fail as Fish returned wide to put the world number one within one set of victory.
The Nadal juggernaut continued its seemingly unstoppable destruction of the challenger by breaking in the first game of the third set, but Fish broke back immediately - this time attacking the Spaniard's serve at the net, forcing him to go long from the baseline.
Fish continued to grow in confidence, but struggled to break the Spaniard, until the 12th game of the third.
Needing to hold to stay in the set, the usually fearless Nadal buckled, gifting Fish two set points - the second of which he took with a perfectly placed forehand.
Nadal, fearful of seeing the match slide away, wasted little time in regaining the initiative in the fourth set.
The 10-time slam champion won two break points with a cleverly disguised drop shot before Fish crashed a simple volley into the net to go 2-1 down.
Nadal took Fish's third service game of the set to 30-30, but the 29-year-old stayed cool to leave himself one break behind the champion.
Fish, sensing the match was over, looked nervous in the eighth but held to make it 5-3.
A wayward forehand from the 10th seed gave Nadal three match points in the following game though and he obliged at the