"To be honest, I haven't really realized what just happened".
Despite playing as cleanly as can be in the opening set - zero unforced errors - Nadal could not solve Muller's big serves and aggressive forays to the net for crisp volleys.
After four hours and 48 minutes - exactly the same time the memorable 2008 final between Nadal and Roger Federer lasted - Muller eeked out a fifth match point.
"I had good chances in the fifth".
Muller's next opponent will be 2014 U.S. Open champion Marin Cilic.
It means Djokovic and Mannarino will start their fourth-round match on the same day as the women's quarterfinal matches.
Spain's Garbine Muguruza eliminated top seed Angelique Kerber of Germany from the women's singles competition
Djokovic had been due to take on Adrian Mannarino on No1 Court after the conclusion of Nadal and Muller's clash.
What followed was a stunning battle of endurance from both players. A few games later, Nili told fans to stop doing the wave, suggesting they wait for the next changeover to resume. That cost me two sets against in the score. "So maybe he deserve it a little more than me".
But two big first serves, and two aces, averted that particular crisis but Muller was still serving the better of the two. "When I had the last two match points, I thought I just had to give it a shot". Muller's next two match points came at 10-9. Nadal deleted the first with a volley victor, and the second disappeared when Muller shanked a return of a 94 miles per hour (152 kph) second serve.
Nadal did not drop a set in last month's French Open triumph, or in his first three matches at the All England Club, but he lost the first two against fellow left-hander Muller before fighting back to level an epic contest on No.1 Court.
Instead, it was Muller who was able to enjoy a win that seemed to be slipping away.