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Australian Open: Rafael Nadal weathers blast from pocket rocket Diego Schwartzman

Rafael Nadal overcame a fiery challenge from Diego Schwartzman to reach the quarter-finals of the Australian Open on Sunday.

tennis Updated: Jan 21, 2018 16:29 IST
Reuters, Melbourne
Australian Open,Rafael Nadal,Diego Schwartzman
Rafael Nadal returns Diego Schwartzman during their Australian Open round of sixteen game. Nadal won 6-3, 6-7(4), 6-3, 6-3. (REUTERS)

Rafael Nadal was rattled by a feisty challenge from Diego Schwartzman but held firm to fend off the diminutive Argentine 6-3, 6-7(4), 6-3, 6-3 to reach the quarter-finals of the Australian Open on Sunday.

In an often breathtaking clash boasting some sumptuous tennis, the Spaniard was stunned by the hard-hitting Schwartzman who broke him three times before claiming the second set at Rod Laver Arena.

But the 16-times grand slam champion responded with typical grit, raising his defensive game to blanket the 24th seed’s firepower and claiming the win on the third match point with a rocketed backhand return down the line.

The victory ensured Nadal will retain his world number one ranking and set up a meeting with sixth seed and former U.S. Open champion Marin Cilic for a place in the semi-finals.

First Published: Jan 21, 2018 14:15 IST