It was a case of down but definitely not out as a Rafael Nadal kept picking himself off a slippery and dusty Centre Court surface to storm into the Wimbledon semi-finals with a pulsating 7-5 6-7 (7) 4-6 6-4 6-4 over Juan Martin del Potro.
After claiming the first set by a single break, Nadal lost the next two by tight margins as Del Potro stole the show on Centre Court with acrobatic shot-making and a total of 33 aces behind his serve.
The French Open champion will next face Novak Djokovic in a clash of two former champions following the Serbian's success over Kei Nishikori earlier on Wednesday.
Rafael Nadal reached the quarter-finals at Wimbledon for the first time since 2011 to solidify the view he can finally win this tournament for a third occasion. The set stayed on serve until Del Potro secured the first break point for a 4-3 lead.
Del Potro trails world number one Nadal 10-5 in career meetings.
The fourth-round match resumed on Tuesday afternoon after bad light had stopped play on Monday with the Argentinian leading by two sets to one.
Del Potro put both hands on his head.
Brother 'praying' for Amesbury novichok victim Charlie Rowley
Searches have taken place in Amesbury , where the pair fell ill, and in Salisbury where Ms Sturgess lived. Lorna Wilkinson, the hospital's director of nursing, said "his condition is now serious, but stable".
But there were flourishes to Nadal's play too, notably another hotdog shot and also a wicked forehand victor that cut across the court and dipped dramatically onto the line.
"Rafa is a fighter".
"Against Rafa", del Potro said, "you must go for winners all the time".
Nadal started strong on serve to power his way into a 3-2 lead during the opening set. A blistering, nearly joyous whipped forehand sealed the set for Nadal and they went to a fifth. The hard-serving American beat Milos Raonic of Canada 6-7 (5), 7-6 (7), 6-4, 6-3 to set up a meeting with Federer's conqueror Kevin Anderson in the last four.
As he served out to reach his sixth semi-final, his old sparring partner, Andy Murray, newly installed in the BBC commentary box, declared the quality of tennis in the fifth set "the best I've seen in the tournament so far".
Isner's 41 attempts to make a semifinal at a major is the second most in the 50-year professional era, behind Sam Querrey, who made the last four at Wimbledon last year with his 42nd try.