Rafael Nadal will face Novak Djokovic in a mouthwatering Wimbledon semi-final after beating Juan Martin del Potro in a Centre Court classic.
Nadal was a set away from crashing out only a matter of hours after defending champion and favourite Roger Federer had suffered a stunning defeat against Kevin Anderson.
The 17-time grand slam champion was not to be denied a place in the last four, though, coming through a monumental battle with the fifth seed to win 7-5 6-7 (7-9) 4-6 6-4 6-4 in four hours and 47 minutes.
Nadal had not lost a set prior to his first quarter-final at the All England Club since 2011, but was taken the distance in an epic encounter between two warriors of the game.
The second seed, eyeing a third Wimbledon title, with his last triumph at SW19 coming eight years ago, struck 66 winners compared to 77 from Del Potro, who fired down 33 aces in a contest that ebbed and flowed throughout.
Del Potro suffered more heartbreak after losing to Nadal in the semi-finals at Roland Garros last month, his 52 unforced errors proving to be costly as the Spaniard claimed the only break in a pulsating final set.
The victor and the vanquished. Sportsmanship at its finest.— Wimbledon (@Wimbledon) July 11, 2018
After four hours and 47 minutes of pure theatre, @RafaelNadal shares a touching embrace with Juan Martin del Potro #Wimbledon pic.twitter.com/TykAQAPReH
Nadal worked the angles and moved superbly from the start, but the heavy-hitting Del Potro frustrated him by saving the first two break-point opportunities of the match before holding to level at 4-4.
However, Del Potro was made to pay for a sloppy game when he was serving to secure a tie-break, netting a backhand to go a set down.
Nadal lost only eight points behind his serve in the opening set, but Del Potro needed only one break point to take a 5-4 lead in the second. He squandered the chance to serve out the set and that looked to be costly when he trailed 4-1 in the breaker, but his rival double-faulted on one of four set points as the nerves set in.
Neither player gave anything away on serve in a tight third set, but an errant Nadal backhand gave the Argentinian three set points. He only needed one, though, breaking to love with a ferocious forehand.
A sprightly Nadal went on the front foot to turn the tide in the fourth, Del Potro twice hitting the deck as he was broken to love to trail 3-2 and while he saved two set points behind his powerful serve, the 11-time French Open champion was jumping for joy after a searing backhand winner made sure the match would go all the way.
The crowd were on their feet when Del Potro took off to end a magnificent point with a diving volley in a marathon third game, yet Nadal got the break with a sublime cross-court winner in the next service game.
Nadal saved three break points before an imperious forehand winner put him 5-3 up and he put away a simple volley to finally finish off Del Potro, then made his way around the net to embrace his weary opponent as he lay on the court following another tumble.
Nadal  bt del Potro  7-5 6-7 (7-9) 4-6 6-4 6-4
Nadal - 66/34
Del Potro - 77/52
Nadal - 3/5
Del Potro - 33/7
BREAK POINTS WON
Nadal - 4/10
Del Potro - 2/7
FIRST SERVE PERCENTAGE
Nadal - 70
Del Potro - 63
PERCENTAGE OF POINTS WON ON FIRST/SECOND SERVE
Nadal - 74/62
Del Potro - 77/45
Nadal - 176
Del Potro - 164
|Widnes defiant after Super League relegation, Saints outclass Wolves|
|NFL must go back to college to eradicate the tie|
|Real Madrid 1 Espanyol 0: Asensio downs old club to earn narrow win|
|Sampdoria 0 Inter 1: Brozovic wins it late after VAR takes centre stage|
|Rudy takes blame for James goal in Bayern win|
|Tiger charges into four-shot lead|
|Players have given their lives to Burnley - Dyche|
|QPR 0 Norwich City 1: Pukki hits winner as hot streak continues|
|Nuno proud of Wolves character in Man United draw|
|Playing for England my dream, says in-form Maddison|
|Brighton and Hove Albion 1 Tottenham 2: Kane on target as Spurs issue firm response|
|Schalke 0 Bayern Munich 2: James and Lewandowski deliver another win|
|Getafe 0 Atletico Madrid 2: Lemar inspires routine win|
|Championship Review: Monk ruins Leeds´ unbeaten streak, McGinn screamer fails to save Villa|
|Bale benched for Real Madrid-Espanyol|
|Biggar fails to rescue Saints at Bath, Bristol and Wasps win|
|Zaha affected by back injury – Hodgson|
|Mourinho slams Manchester United attitude after Wolves stalemate|
|Herbert holds Portugal Masters advantage|
|Warnock blasts ´elementary´ Cardiff mistakes|
|Shaqiri substitution not easy for Klopp|
|Guardiola hopes for even more to come from Aguero|
|Fellaini accepts United closing gap to Premier League summit will be difficult|
|Klizan to face Thiem in St. Petersburg final, Bachinger shocks Nishikori|
|Klopp: Van Dijk injury not serious|
|Mourinho annoyed by Man Utd´s blunt attack in Wolves draw|
|Valverde not ready to consider Barca contract extension|
|Gattuso wary of wounded Atalanta as Higuain receives further advice|
|Burnley 4 Bournemouth 0: Rampant Clarets claim first Premier League win of the season|
|Crystal Palace 0 Newcastle United 0: Sakho misses sitter as Magpies remain winless|
|Cardiff City 0 Manchester City 5: Aguero celebrates new deal with goal in 300th game|
|Leicester City 3 Huddersfield Town 1: Comeback win eases pressure on Puel|
|Liverpool 3 Southampton 0: Salah ends goalless run as Reds make best Premier League start|
|Manchester United 1 Wolves 1: Moutinho stunner sees Red Devils falter at home again|
|Rashid, Hasan and Asghar fined by ICC|
|Barnsley game postponed after medical emergency|
|Johnny Manziel sacked five times in ugly CFL loss|
|Fosu-Mensah says sorry for tackle on Deeney|
|Kluivert to get Roma chance as Di Francesco demands focus|
|Robinson optimistic injured Cronk will be fit for Grand Final|
|WATCH: Ferguson given immense ovation on Old Trafford return|
|Three in a row for Lorenzo at Aragon|
|Warner makes 155 on Australian grade cricket return|
|Pain-free Kyrie Irving ready to lead Celtics to NBA title|
|Firmino returns as Shaqiri gets first league start|
|Fulham 1 Watford 1: Mitrovic shines late to spoil Gray´s day|
|Ronaldo vows to lose weight and assist training after Real Valladolid purchase|
|Patriots WR Josh Gordon listed as questionable to face Lions|
|500th goal was crucial to my new book - Ibrahimovic|
|Roosters survive Cronk injury to hold off Souths and reach Grand Final|
|Murray announces intention to end season early|
|I want to play right-back for England - Walker|
|I would beat Bolt for speed on the pitch, claims Traore|
|Ferguson returns to Old Trafford for Manchester United v Wolves|
|Walker ´hurt´ by Pochettino claims over Tottenham exit|
|Douglas Costa has paid his fine for Sassuolo spitting incident – Allegri|
|Djokovic: Sock gave me karma back for hitting Federer|
|Anthony Joshua v Alexander Povetkin: Tale of the tape|
|Wang thrashes Putintseva to win Guangzhou title|
|There is no problem with Cavani - Tuchel silences rumours of PSG rift|
|Wilder & Fury sign contracts for December 1 bout|
|Neymar is the Kim Kardashian of football, claims Barton|
|We did not want to sell him - Perez insists Madrid got ´highest value´ for Ronaldo|
|Osaka continues run, Pliskova awaits in Tokyo final|
|Cardinals keep pace in wildcard race with win over Giants|
|Djokovic hits Federer, pair lose in doubles at Laver Cup|
|Nowitzki likely to come off bench for Mavericks in 21st season|
|Red Wings´ Green battling ´virus that attacked his liver´|
|They said I couldn´t score goals – Ibrahimovic hits back at early critics|
|Slater charged, set to miss Grand Final|