ATP Australian Open: Rafael Nadal tops Adrian Mannarino to advance into last eight

World no. 5 Rafael Nadal is through to his 14th Australian Open quarter-final following a 7-6, 6-2, 6-2 victory over Adrian Mannarino in two hours and 40 minutes. Nadal has lost only one set so far in Melbourne and will try to reach the semi-final against Denis Shapovalov, who toppled Alexander Zverev in straight sets. Nadal and Mannarino played a crazy opening set that lasted for 80 minutes, and Rafa grabbed the tie break 16-14 in the most extended breaker of his career. Adrian lost the ground after wasting four set points and claimed only four games in sets two and three to propel the 20-time Major winner into the last eight. Rafa fired 16 aces and dropped only six points behind the first serve, losing serve once from only two break chances offered to Adrian and breaking the opponent five times from 17 opportunities to seal the deal in straight sets. The Spaniard hit 42 winners and 22 unforced errors and had the advantage in the shortest and most extended exchanges to find himself over the top.

Rafael Nadal saved four set points in the opening set against Adrian Mannarino.

Mannarino lost only a couple of points behind the initial shot in the opening set and kept the pressure on the other side. Serving at 5-5, Rafa faced a break point and saved it with a service winner to avoid the setback. A left-handed Frenchman fired a service winner in the 12th game to introduce a tie break that would last for almost half an hour! From 4-2 behind, Nadal claimed three straight points and moved 5-4 up with a service winner. The Spaniard earned two set points in the tenth point with a brilliant forehand crosscourt winner, and Mannarino saved both with brave hitting for 6-6. Adrian saved another set point at 6-7 with an unreturned serve and wasted his chance at 8-7 following Rafa’s service winner. Nadal squandered two more set points at 10-9 and 11-10 before Mannarino had three opportunities at 12-11, 13-12 and 14-13.

Rafa stayed calm and erased them with winners before creating the seventh set point at 15-14 after Adrian’s volley winner at the net for a massive boost. Nadal barely lost a point in his games in set number two and broke in the opening game for a considerable advantage. Rafa broke again at 3-1 with a backhand winner and held at love with a forehand winner at 5-2 for two sets to love advantage. At the beginning of the third set, the Spaniard seized the fifth break chance, got broken in the next one, and converted the sixth opportunity for a break at 1-1 to move in front again. Mannarino hit a double fault at 1-3 to fall further behind, and Nadal sealed the deal with an ace in game eight to move into the quarter-final.