Rafael Nadal Advances to Wimbledon Quarterfinals with Win vs. Botic van de Zandschulp

Rob Goldberg@@TheRobGoldbergFeatured Columnist IVJuly 4, 2022

TOPSHOT - Spain's Rafael Nadal celebrates winning a point against Netherlands' Botic van de Zandschulp during their round of 16 men's singles tennis match on the eighth day of the 2022 Wimbledon Championships at The All England Tennis Club in Wimbledon, southwest London, on July 4, 2022. - RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE (Photo by Glyn KIRK / AFP) / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE (Photo by GLYN KIRK/AFP via Getty Images)
GLYN KIRK/AFP via Getty Images

No. 2 Rafael Nadal clinched a spot in the Wimbledon 2022 quarterfinals after a 6-4, 6-3, 7-6 (6) win over No. 21 Botic van de Zandschulp.

Wimbledon @Wimbledon

Rafa rolls into the quarter-finals 💪<br><br>The Spaniard secures a straight sets victory over Botic van de Zandschulp 6-4, 6-2, 7-6(6)<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Wimbledon?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Wimbledon</a> | <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/CentreCourt100?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#CentreCourt100</a> | <a href="https://twitter.com/RafaelNadal?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@RafaelNadal</a> <a href="https://t.co/Sq0SovkdoB">pic.twitter.com/Sq0SovkdoB</a>

With the win, Nadal improves to 18-0 in Grand Slams this year after already winning the Australian Open and French Open. It's also his third straight time reaching at least the quarterfinal of Wimbledon after falling short in his previous five appearances.

The latest win was another dominant performance for the Spanish star with 70 percent of service points in the match, including nine aces.

The 36-year-old finished with 29 winners and just 17 unforced errors across the three sets.

Van de Zandschulp was seeking his second career appearance in a Grand Slam quarterfinal, but his impressive run at the All England Club came to an end on Monday.

Despite Nadal's talent and momentum heading into the round, there was concern Van de Zandschulp's style of play would cause him problems:

Full Dissident @hbryant42

Beating Nadal on grass usually means hitting him off the court. Van de Zandschulp has the big game, and so do Fritz, and Kyrgios. Nadal’s run just reached the difficult stage.

After all, the Dutch player earned relatively easy wins over Feliciano Lopez and Richard Gasquet earlier in the tournament.

The first set showed why as Van de Zandschulp matched the superstar with no breaks through the first nine games. It took until the 10th game for Nadal to finally gain an advantage, breaking his opponent to win the set 6-4.

Tennis Channel @TennisChannel

Vamos! 💥 <a href="https://twitter.com/RafaelNadal?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@RafaelNadal</a> snags the first set over van de Zandschulp, 6-4. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Wimbledon?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Wimbledon</a> <a href="https://t.co/zKZ1cOXQeM">pic.twitter.com/zKZ1cOXQeM</a>

The second set was much easier for the favorite.

Nadal earned two breaks and finished 17-of-23 on service points on the way to a 6-2 romp. The No. 2 seed was cruising at this point.

Wide World of Sports @wwos

Nadal is one Set away from the Quarter-Finals! 🔥<br><br>📺 Wimbledon | LIVE on 9Gem and Stan Sport.<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/9WWOS?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#9WWOS</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Tennis?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Tennis</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Wimbledon?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Wimbledon</a> <a href="https://t.co/kcLADUKEJK">pic.twitter.com/kcLADUKEJK</a>

José Morgado @josemorgado

Nadal is playing... very well.

Standard Sport @standardsport

He’s hardly out of third gear here, but Rafael Nadal is a set away from the Wimbledon quarter-finals.<br><br>He takes the second set 6-2. <br><br>LIVE: <a href="https://t.co/EPlg4DEN85">https://t.co/EPlg4DEN85</a>

Zubair Faisal Abbasi🇺🇦 @zubairabbasi

Nadal is so great ... treat to watch him running after ball all over the court ... and keeping the opponent on toes 👍🏽

There were some bright spots for Van de Zandschulp in the third set, including his first break of the match:

Deji Faremi @deejayfaremi

Zandschulp goes from 40-love down to break Nadal’s serve in the first game of Set 3. Huge chance. He’s held serve well at times in this match, so he can fancy his chances in this set.

Nadal earned a break back in the next game, but he couldn't serve it out after going up 5-2. Van de Zandschulp won three straight games and eventually forced a tiebreak.

After Nadal got to triple match point in the tiebreak, Van de Zandschulp again fought back to even the tiebreak at 6-6.

It still wasn't enough to win a set, with Nadal getting the key points down the stretch to finish things off.

Wimbledon @Wimbledon

One incredible point. One <a href="https://twitter.com/RafaelNadal?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@RafaelNadal</a>. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Wimbledon?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Wimbledon</a> | <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/CentreCourt100?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#CentreCourt100</a> <a href="https://t.co/YpQxGtEB0v">pic.twitter.com/YpQxGtEB0v</a>

The aggressiveness paid off for the veteran, who finished 17-of-26 on net points while keeping his errors low. Even with some mistakes in third set, Nadal did enough to win in two hours and 21 minutes.

Nadal is now just three wins away from his third Wimbledon title and third Grand Slam of the year. Fans are also likely looking ahead to a dream final between him and No. 1 Novak Djokovic.

No. 11 seed Taylor Fritz stands in the way with a quarterfinal matchup against Nadal on Wednesday. The American has won four matches without dropping a single set, although he is yet to face a seeded player.