Nadal leads fab four Wimbledon charge
London: Rafael Nadal leads the fab four of men's tennis into the Wimbledon quarterfinals on Wednesday with Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer and Andy Murray determined to snatch the Spaniard's title.
Top seed and world number one Nadal has shaken off a worrying foot injury he suffered in his fourth round victory over Juan Martin del Potro and has declared himself fit to face Mardy Fish, the only surviving American.
Nadal has beaten Fish five times out of five and victory on Wednesday could set up a semifinal confrontation with fourth seed Murray who is bidding to end Britain's agonising 75-year wait for a men's champion.
Murray reached his fourth consecutive Wimbledon quarterfinal with a straight sets dismissal of France's Richard Gasquet and he will tackle unseeded Spaniard Feliciano Lopez, who he has beaten four times in four meetings.
"Lopez beat Andy Roddick, straight sets. He serves very well, has a good slice backhand, plays different than a lot of the Spaniards. He likes coming forward a lot," said Murray.
Lopez has figured widely in the 2011 Murray Wimbledon story with the Scot's mother Judy dubbing the handsome Spaniard 'Deliciano' on Twitter.
The Spanish left-hander, who is appearing in his third quarterfinal, reached the last eight the hard way, coming from two sets to love down to defeat Polish qualifier Lukasz Kubot.
"What can I say about Andy? He's a great player. He had an easy win, straight sets today, so he must be very confident," said Lopez.
"But I love the grass. I think the conditions are good for my game."
Second seed Novak Djokovic tackles 18-year-old qualifier Bernard Tomic, the world number 158, with the Australian player the youngest quarterfinalist since Boris Becker in 1986.
"He has great potential and believes he can win against the big players," said Djokovic, who has lost just one of his last 48 matches.
Only Becker, John McEnroe and Bjorn Borg have made the last eight at a younger age and Tomic is also the first qualifier to reach this stage at Wimbledon since Vladimir Voltchkov in 2000.
Roger Federer, chasing Pete Sampras' record of seven titles at the All England Club and a 17th Grand Slam title, faces France's Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and is seeded to face Djokovic in the semifinals.
Federer, playing in a record 29th consecutive Grand Slam quarterfinal, has a 4-1 record over Tsonga but appreciates the danger of the 12th-seeded Frenchman.
"He's a great player. He's proven it on numerous occasions. It's going to be good tennis," Federer said.