Rafael Nadal is into the Australian Open quarter-finals for the 14th time in his career after beating Adrian Mannarino 7-6(14) 6-2 6-2.
Rafa was able to overcome Mannarino in an epic tie-break during a 81 minute first set, saving four set points to take it 16-14 which sparked wild celebrations from the Spaniard and the boisterous crowd inside Rod Laver Arena.
Our champ moved to equal-second with John Newcombe on the all-time list for most quarterfinals in Australia. Roger Federer tops that list with 15. It’s also his 45th time into the last eight at a Grand Slam tournament, which is third on the all-time list behind Federer (58) and Novak Djokovic (51).
“Anything could have happened. I got a little bit lucky in the end. I had my chances but then he had lots of chances too. Everybody knows how mental this game is. After that crazy first set the break at the beginning of the second was so important.
“He had been playing some fantastic tennis throughout the whole tournament, winning against amazing players like Aslan Karatsev and Hurbert Hurkacz. Today the first set was super difficult. His ball was difficult to control – very flat and fast – and I’m very happy that I survived that first set without a doubt.
“I’m happy to be in quarterfinals. I know I need to play, very, very well to keep having
chances. But I am just enjoying today and I’m going to try my best.”