Rafael Nadal advanced to his 14th Australian Open quarter-final with a 7-6, 6-2, 6-2 victory over Adrian Mannarino in two hours and 40 minutes. Mannarino gave his best to challenge Nadal in the opening set. The Frenchman squandered four set points and lost the breaker 16-14 before fading from the court in sets two and three to propel the Spaniard through.
Rafa fired 16 aces and dropped only six points behind the first serve. He lost serve once from only two break chances offered to Adrian and broke 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. Mannarino lost only a couple of points behind the initial shot in the opening set and kept the pressure on the other side.
Rafa faced a break point at 5-5 and saved it with a service winner to avoid the setback.
Rafael Nadal saved four set points in the opening set against Adrian Mannarino.
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!
Nadal claimed three straight points from 4-2 down and gained the advantage with a service winner. The Spaniard earned two set points in the tenth point with a brilliant forehand crosscourt winner, and the Frenchman 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 earned three opportunities at 12-11, 13-12 and 14-13.
Rafa stayed calm and erased them with winners to prolong the battle. The Spaniard seized the seventh set point at 15-14 after Adrian’s volley error at the net for a massive boost after an hour and 20 minutes! Nadal barely lost a point behind the initial shot 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. The Spaniard seized the fifth break chance at the beginning of the third set after the Frenchman’s loose forehand.
Mannarino placed a perfect lob winner in the second game for three break chances and seized the first after Nadal’s double fault. Rafa earned three break opportunities in the third game, and Adrian fended them off with fine hitting.
Mannarino denied two more break points before losing ground on the sixth to get broken after a wayward volley. Nadal blasted an ace in game four for a hold at love and 3-1 before creating a break chance in the next one after Mannarino’s forehand mistake.
Adrian hit a double fault to lose serve and fall 4-1 behind. Rafa landed a service winner in game six for a hold after deuce and served for the victory at 5-2. Nadal created three match points with a forehand winner and converted the first with an ace for a place in the quarter-final.