Gilles Muller outlasts Rafael Nadal in epic Wimbledon match

When the last exhausted ball dropped behind the baseline and in front of his feet, a journeyman Luxembourger hatched an unusual acknowledgement of victory. He just stood there, and then he just stood there more. Maybe no other option seemed as reasonable.

He neither rejoiced nor preened nor fist-pumped. He did puff out a quick burst of air. “A lot of relief,” he said.

On a comfortable summer Monday night that figures to fasten itself to the memory banks of those who gasped and murmured and hollered at Court No. 1, Wimbledon had another of the matches that make it Wimbledon. By the time Gilles Muller finished upsetting Rafael Nadal, 6-3, 6-4, 3-6, 4-6, 15-13, it seemed a technicality that Nadal would exit in the fourth round after his imperious late spring and early summer. Everything on an overloaded fourth-round day at the All England club gave way to a sole set stuffed to the gills with frenzy.

It lasted 28 games, 135 minutes, 176 points, umpteen dizzying twists, four match points against Nadal, 18 aces (11 by Muller), 27 unforced errors (only eight from Nadal), merely 10 break points, one lonely service break at the close, and 34 cases from Muller of an ancient art the 34-year-old must have found in the cobwebs of some Wimbledon storage

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