Skip to main content

Rafael Nadal celebrates his fourth-round win over Joao Sousa at Wimbledon on July 8, 2019.

CARL RECINE/Reuters

Rafael Nadal had plenty to grumble about during the first week of Wimbledon.

He was irritated at being seeded third at the grass court major despite his status as world number two and he was left exasperated when the draw put him on a second-round collision course with Australian hothead Nick Kyrgios – a player who thrives on rubbing Nadal up the wrong way.

Those setbacks have well and truly fired up the Spaniard and it was poor Joao Sousa who felt the full force of Nadal’s fury on Monday during a 6-2 6-2 6-2 demolition job in the fourth round.

Story continues below advertisement

Tougher tests will surely come for the two-time champion, who may have to beat Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic if he wants to complete a Roland Garros-Wimbledon double for the third time in his career, but for now he was happy to show off the kind of ruthless streak that Boris Becker hailed as “vintage Nadal on grass”.

“It was a good solid match. A lot of positive things in there,” the 18-times Grand Slam champion, whose surgically-repaired body often struggles to cope with the demands of playing on the slick grass surface, said with a smile.

“Good forehands, good backhands and creating some good volleys, so I am happy to be in the quarter-finals again.

“The body is holding up well and I am playing some good tennis and winning matches in straight sets also helps.”

TENNIS BEHEMOTH

Until this year, the only Portuguese to create a racket, literally, in the singles at Wimbledon was Michelle Larcher de Brito.

But whereas she made her name thanks to the cacophony of ear-splitting shrieks and squeals that could be heard all around, and beyond, the 42 acres that make up the All England Club, Sousa had let his racket do the talking as he became the first Portuguese to reach the last 16 of a major.

Story continues below advertisement

The run included a memorable second-round win over former U.S. Open champion Marin Cilic but the world number 69 simply ran out of ideas when he came up against a tennis behemoth who had his eyes set on a 39th quarter-final appearance at the majors.

The sweet-spot in Nadal’s racket appeared to be the size of a beach ball on Monday as the Spaniard fired off formidable forehands, breathtaking backhands and thunderbolt aces to burst Sousa’s Wimbledon bubble.

As Nadal hurtled to a 4-0 lead in the first set, Sousa appeared to have adopted some Larcher de Brito tactics by producing a couple of comical grunts. But rather than throwing Nadal off stride, the “hay-way” yelps only made the crowd chuckle.

Thirty winners in all flew off Nadal’s racket, none better than the running cross-court passing shot he flicked over the net as he chased down a Sousa drop shot to end a breathtaking 20-shot exchange.

While the Centre Court crowd erupted as they rose to their feet, some fans were seen bowing to Nadal’s greatness and even Sousa joined in by applauding the effort.

The multilingual Sousa may speak Portuguese, Spanish, Catalan, English, French and Italian but when it came to the language of tennis there was only one man on court who was fluent.

Story continues below advertisement

Nadal’s fifth ace set up a last-eight meeting with the winner of the all-American duel between Tennys Sandgren and Sam Querrey.

Report an error
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

Comments that violate our community guidelines will be removed.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

Cannabis pro newsletter