Nadal described long-time rival Djokovic as "one of the more complex" players he's ever met as they prepare to clash for the 52nd time on Friday, July 13, with a Wimbledon final spot at stake.
Nadal was two sets to one down before fighting back to win in five sets - and nearly five hours - to reach his first SW19 semi-final since 2011.
For Del Potro, who dived, tumbled and slipped as he tried to contain the two-time Wimbledon champion it was an 11th defeat in 16 meetings with the Spaniard.
And while Nadal is back on top of the world after snaring an 11th French Open title last month, Djokovic believes he too is approaching his vintage best again after a turbulent two years in which he relinquished all four grand slam trophies that he once held simultaneously.
"We always played in important stages, important places".
Del Potro was in danger of being dragged into a fifth set when he squandered four match points, one with a double-fault, at 5-4 having hit back from 1-3 down. All Anderson did was eliminate Roger Federer in the quarterfinals, erasing a match point and a two-set deficit.
Nadal got the crucial break for 3-2 in the decider, utilising his drop shot perfectly to trouble the tall Argentine.
A tired Del Potro, a semi-finalist in 2013, finished with 33 aces and 77 winners but even those impressive statistics were not enough. "I feel like I'm peaking at the right moment". "I'm not going to change that now", said the American.
Nadal and Djokovic have faced one another 51 times, the most any Men's player has faced another in the Open era since 1968.
Anderson comes to the final Friday with the biggest possible boost after coming from two sets and match-point down to beat the eight-times champion, Roger Federer, in a heart-stopping match on No 1 Court, the Swiss's first visit there since 2015.
- Nadal is bidding to win Roland Garros and Wimbledon in the same year for the third time and equal Bjorn Borg's all-time record.
It was Juan Martin del Potro who slumped to his knees and lay flat on the grass after the last point. "In some ways he deserves to win as well", said Nadal after the breath-taking quarter-final.
"In the last set there was a little of everything, great points, great rallies, he was hitting insane with his forehands".
"I just try to build the momentum".
"I think I won the best point of the match", Del Potro said of his small consolation.
"I play Los Cabos in Mexico - the beach", he smiled.