Nadal beats Petzschner in five sets
Rafael Nadal won the battle of the walking wounded with Germany's Philipp Petzschner to reach the fourth round at Wimbledon but his victory was tinged with controversy after he was accused of receiving on-court coaching.
The world number one was forced to endure a second consecutive five-set match before securing a 6-4 4-6 6-7 (5/7) 6-2 6-3 triumph over the 33rd seed in a Centre Court match lasting 15 minutes short of four hours.
Nadal, who was taken to five sets by Robin Haase in his last match, three times called for the trainer to have treatment to his left arm and his right leg while Petzschner twice had a courtside massage as the effects of five-set matches in each of his first two rounds caught up with him.
In an incident-packed duel, the Spaniard was issued with a code violation by umpire Cedric Mourier in the deciding set for receiving tips from his coach, uncle Toni Nadal, who was sitting in the players' box.
Nadal, who next plays Frenchman Paul-Henri Mathieu for a place in the quarter-finals, shrugged off his injury woes and admitted he was relieved to win through to the second week.
"The match was very difficult for me," he admitted. "Philipp served unbelievably all match. I think I played well."
Of his injuries, Nadal said: "I will be fine. It's not a big problem. It's a long season for me, I've played a lot of matches in the last few months.
"I had a five-setter two days ago and another today and that's tough. But I'm very happy to be in the fourth round and I'll try to be better for Monday."
Nadal, who has not lost at Wimbledon for three years, beat Petzschner in straight sets in each of his two previous meetings and today's clash seemed to be going the same way when he broke his opponent's serve in the first game.
Petzschner produced a 139mph serve but was forced to save three break points to stay in the game before Nadal succeeded at the fourth attempt to draw first blood.
It looked like being an uphill battle from then on but the German took the game to his opponent at every opportunity, hitting 63 winners as well as 40 errors and 25 aces.
Petzschner grew more comfortable on his serve in the second set and went to the net with increasing frequency in a bid to unsettle the 2008 champion.
The ploy began to work and the match took a sudden twist in the 10th game when Nadal, up to then virtually impregnable on his serve, put a smash into the net to offer a first break point to Petzschner, who seized his opportunity by neatly putting away a forehand at the net.
He took the second set 6-4 to level the match and the break did wonders for his confidence of the German number two, who came up with a second consecutive love service game at the start of the third set.
Nadal's forehand began to let him down and he provided a possible explanation when he called for the trainer to examine a problem with his left arm, although he decided to delay any treatment.
Petzschner was two points away from taking the second set but Nadal strengthened his resolve to hold his serve and take the set into a tie-break.
The breaker was a virtual carbon copy of the first set, with the German broken at the start but he fought back to nudge in front with two blazing forehands.
Nadal saved two set points on his serve but could do nothing to prevent his opponent sealing the tie-break 7-5 with another booming serve to go 2-1 ahead.
The German tired in the fourth set but he was given the chance of a breather at the end of the third game when Nadal again called for the trainer, this time to examine his right leg.
Whatever his precise problem, there was nothing wrong with Nadal's movement on the resumption as he rediscovered his shots to immediately break his gutsy opponent.
The second seed then consolidated the break with a whipped forehand in the next game as he moved 4-1 ahead before receiving yet more treatment from the trainer.
By this time Nadal was playing his best tennis of the match and broke his opponent's serve for the second time to take the set 6-2 and level the match.
It was the tiring Petzschner's turn to call for the trainer before the start of the deciding set, perhaps hoping it would provide him with a similar pick-me-up.
The German managed to put pressure on Nadal's serve at the start of the fifth set, earning only a second break point, but he missed an easy forehand at the net to allow the chance to slip away.
Nadal was then given his warning for receiving coaching and, although clearly angered by the decision, maintained his focus, breaking Petzschner in the eighth game and then safely holding to book his place in the last 16.
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