I'm very proud of myself. No "Fish" puns.
The Sockless Wonder came out firing and reminded us all of the form he showed against Roger at Indian Wells. He was serving huge, volleying well, and basically taking it to Rafa. But let's face it. You knew it couldn't last because (1) Mardy got a haircut and a shave, breaking the long standing tradition of athlete's not changing anything when they're on a win streak, (2) Boyd Tinsley, the violinist for Dave Matthews Band, was in his box cheering him on, meaning he's inherently lame, and (3) dude wears no-show socks, which speak for themselves.
This is why I think Rafa, Roger, and Nole are so above the rest of the field. Because you may beat them 2 out of 3 at a tour event. But taking three sets from them? That is a very tall task and these three just find a way to figure it out and gut it out. And against the field, with the exception of a few players (namely Murray, Roddick), no one can stay with them for five sets and no one scares those three to the point that they drop their level and lose.
And that's what happened here. Mardy was out of this world in the first set. And then he came crashing down, dumping easy volleys into the net, whacking groundstrokes 2-3 feet long, and missing first serves at an alarming rate. And Rafa, the bull that he is, was relentless. Is there nothing more inevitable than seeing Rafa sprint across the court to hit a blind cross-court passing shot? Amazing.
So Rafa advances, though he didn't finish until 2:30am. But again, just like Muzzah he'll have time to rest as they won't play their semi until Saturday afternoon. So get some rest, Rafa.
Oh, and with the win, Rafa joins the elite group of players to reach at least the semifinals of every Grand Slam in a calendar year. Boy, the kid just keeps checking off boxes on his to do list, doesn't he?