(Championspk)Tennis – There were several moments in Monday’s fourth round clash against Japan’s Kei Nishikori where world no. 1 Rafael Nadal found himself on the backfoot. But each time, the Spaniard fought back to finally win in straight sets and advance to the quarter finals of the Australian Open in Melbourne.
The scoreline in the end 7-6(3) 7-5 7-6(3) did not do justice to the effort that the 16th seeded Nishikori put into the match and he atleast deserved a set for his heroic efforts. But such was Nadal’s tenacity and perseverance that he managed to win in three sets. The match lasted three hours and 17 minutes.
Speaking after his win, Nadal commented, “I think he’s a fantastic player, he’s able to hit the ball very early, that’s very difficult and he’s dong it very easy. The ball was coming back very quick and [it] was very difficult for me to take the position inside the court.”
Nadal received two warnings for violations – including one for a time violation at a critical point in the third set – which left him furious.
“I normally have a good self-control on court. It’s true that the moment was a very critical one. I know the rules are there, but sometimes timings are a little bit tough … referee make the decision so just respect her [even though] I wasn’t happy with the decision.”
Nishikori has been working with the former French Open champion Michael Chang in recent weeks and the collaboration seems to be paying off for the Japanese player.
Here are the highlights of the third set, including the Match Point won by Nadal: