July 03 | 06

Rafa reached the last eight at Wimbledon with a 6-3, 7-6(4), 6-3 win over Irakli Labadze of Georgia.

Rafa picked up where he left off from his impressive victory over Agassi on Saturday and came out of the blocks fast on No.1 Court on Monday afternoon. Labadze was nervous at first having never been past the third round in any Grand Slam before, and the Georgian made too many errors as Rafa raced to a one set lead.
However Labadze is a former Wimbledon Junior Finalist and when his nerves settled in the second set the Georgian number one was able to produce some fine tennis.

His serving was particularly impressive as he pushed Rafa to a second set tie break and entertained the crowd with his charismatic persona.
But Rafa was able to raise his game in the tie break and despite going a mini break down early, he recovered well with his fight and determination; feeling the pressure Labadze put a forehand wide on Rafa's first set point.

Labadze had impressed throughout with his ability to serve big on break points but Rafa finally made a breakthrough on his serve at 2-1 in the third set. With the tiring qualifier missing his first serve Rafa was able to take advantage and gain a 3-1 lead.

Labadze continued smiling and pleasing the crowd until the end but it was Rafa who emerged the deserved winner as he hit a forehand into the open court on his first match point. Rafa was clearly thrilled to win and acknowledged the crowd's support with a broad grin.

Next up for the Mallorcan is Jarkko Nieminen of Finland, who beat the Russian Dmitri Tursunov in a five set marathon today and who will have his work cut out for him as he faces the 20 year old determined to prove to everyone that a Spaniard can win Wimbledon.
Go Rafa!

Written by, Kate Flory