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LONDON -- Rafael Nadal kept getting pushed to the brink of defeat. He kept resisting.
He dropped the first two sets, then won the next two. He erased two match points in the riveting fifth set's 10th game, then another two in its 20th game. Only when his fourth-round match against 16th-seeded Gilles Muller of Luxembourg stretched past 4° hours, the sunlight fading, did Nadal blink.
After repeatedly digging himself out of difficult situations, Nadal finally succumbed, broken in the last game of a 6-3, 6-4, 3-6, 4-6, 15-13 loss to Muller on Monday.
"I played with the right determination, right passion, right attitude," Nadal said, "to win the match."
But he could not pull through, extending his drought without a quarterfinal berth at the All England Club to six years.
"Just tried to hang in there," Muller said. "Still kept believing. Yeah, somehow in the end, I made it."
Nadal won two of his 15 Grand Slam championships at Wimbledon, and played in the final three other times, most recently in 2011. But since then, Nadal's exits at the All England Club have come in the first round (2013), second round (2012, 2015) or fourth round (2014, 2017).
All of those losses, except Monday's, came against men ranked 100th or worse. The 34-year-old Muller is not exactly a giant-killer: He had lost 22 consecutive matches against players in the top five. And he'd only reached a Grand Slam quarterfinal once before, at the 2008 U.S. Open.
Nadal said Muller's powerful serve and crisp volleys make him "uncomfortable" to play.
Now Muller, who also beat Nadal at Wimbledon in 2005, will get a much-needed chance to recover before facing 2014 U.S. Open champion Marin Cilic in Wednesday's quarterfinals.
in 23 years
Venus Williams, who turned 37 last month, needed just over an hour to get past 19-year-old Ana Konjuh 6-3, 6-2 at Wimbledon on Monday. With the victory, Williams becomes the oldest Wimbledon quarterfinalist since Martina Navratilova in 1994.
Konjuh was not even born when Williams made her Grand Slam debut at the 1997 French Open, and she was two years old when Williams won the first of her five Wimbledon titles. Williams dominated Monday's match from start to finish, converting 86 percent of her first serves. She is aiming to win her first title at the All England Club since 2008.
Williams plays surprise French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko for a spot in the semifinals.
Ostapenko advanced to her first Wimbledon quarterfinal after converting her eighth match point to beat Elina Svitolina 6-3, 7-6 (8-6).
With pregnant younger sister Serena skipping Wimbledon, Venus has been in the headlines on and off the court.
She entered the tournament under a cloud of controversy after the death of Jerome Barson, a 78-year-old man who was involved in a Palm Beach, Fla., car crash with Williams last month.
Barson's family is suing Williams, although police last week announced they had found Williams lawfully entered the intersection where the accident occurred.
Williams has remained focused on the Wimbledon courts, but the accident clearly is on her mind. She left a press conference in tears last week after being asked a question about the accident, before composing herself and returning to finish the interview.
In other matches Monday:
Svetlana Kuznetsova, 32, reached her first Wimbledon quarterfinal in 10 years with a 6-2, 6-4 win over ninth seed Agnieszka Radwanska. Kuznetsova has won the U.S. Open and French Open, but has never made a Wimbledon semifinal.
Slovakia's Magdalena Rybarikova advanced to her first Grand Slam quarterfinal after a 6-4, 2-6, 6-3 win over Croatian qualifier Petra Martic. Rybarikova lost in the first round at Wimbledon every year from 2008 to 2014.