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Australian Open: Rafael Nadal revels in ‘particular’ return to surge into final 16


Tennis – Australian Open – Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia – January 21, 2022 Spain’s Rafael Nadal celebrates successful his third spherical match towards Russia’s Karen Khachanov REUTERS/Morgan Sette

Rafael Nadal dropped a set for the primary time at this 12 months’s Australian Open however performed his greatest match since harm to beat Karen Khachanov and steam into the fourth spherical on Friday.

The 20-time Grand Slam champion rolled right into a two-sets lead and was seeking to sweep it in straight units, earlier than the Russian twenty eighth seed hit again to take the third.

That stung the Spanish sixth seed into motion as he broke early to energy dwelling.

Nadal received 6-3, 6-2, 3-6, 6-1 in 2hr 50min in a late night time match on Rod Laver Enviornment and can face both Russian 18th seed Aslan Karatsev or Frenchman Adrian Mannarino within the spherical of 16.

“It’s a really particular week for me getting back from the place I’ve been, each time I come again right here to play is a really particular factor,” Nadal advised the gang, a nod to the foot harm which ended his 2021 season in August.

“I had my greatest match up to now indisputably since I got here again.

“I went via some very robust instances within the final 12 months and a half, however nights like this imply every part to me, that’s loads of power in my pocket to maintain going, preserve combating each single day.”

The large-hitting Russian had no solutions for the standard of Nadal’s shotmaking within the opening two units, with Nadal wanting in glowing type after his well being and harm issues within the months main as much as the 12 months’s first main.

Simply when it appeared as if Nadal was about to have an early night time, Khachanov fought again to take the third set and cease the Spaniard’s momentum.

However Nadal bounced again with a break within the fourth set with a laser down-the-line backhand winner which prompted a screaming fist-pumping celebration.

It was all Nadal from there to take the match as he reached the spherical of 16 in Melbourne for the fifteenth time, and his 51st in Grand Slams.

Khachanov was Nadal’s first top-60 opponent of the brand new 12 months and Nadal now leads him 8-0 of their conferences.

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