A few hours after Roger Federer's exit from the championships, the player most observers expected to be waiting for the defending champion across the net in Sunday's final, Rafael Nadal, continued in that direction with a five-set win of the highest quality over Juan Martín del Potro under a mellowing night sky on Centre Court.
'It was an important moment for me, I am happy to be where I am, ' he said.
Kei Nishikori overcame elbow trouble in the opening set to win a marathon match 4-6 7-6 (5) 7-6 (10) 6-1 against a limping Ernests Gulbis and reach his first Wimbledon quarter-final at the tenth attempt on Monday.
Nadal ended the four-hour-and-48-minute thriller with a backhand volley victor past a lunging Del Potro who ended the contest lying flat on his stomach.
Nadal wasted a fourth chance at 7-6, before letting 2009 U.S. Open champion del Potro grab three points in a row for that set.
The Spaniard, eyeing back-to-back major titles following his 11th French Open triumph, conceded only two points behind his serve in an opening set which he served out easily.
"In the last set there was a little of everything, great points, great rallies, he was hitting insane with his forehands".
After del Potro also took the third, repeatedly taking points with his thunderclap of a forehand, Nadal knew he needed to make some adjustments.
At 1-all in the fifth, del Potro jumped to his right, rolling along the turf and losing his racket, for a volley victor, and then celebrated by raising both arms.
The powerful Vesely broke for a 3-2 lead when a rare Nadal forehand error drew gasps of surprise from the crowd.
That never really felt like much of a cushion, though.
Soon enough, del Potro was down on his belly after one last slip, as Nadal finished off the victory with a volley.
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.
"Rafa is a fighter".
Del Potro put both hands on his head.
"In the end the court was a little bit slippery because the sun goes out and it was humid on the grass", Del Potro added.