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Tennis-Nadal quashes Nishikori threat to reach quarter-finals

Reuters

By Ian Ransom

MELBOURNE, Jan 20 (Reuters) - A ruffled Rafa Nadal fumed at the chair umpire after being called for multiple time violations on serve but composed himself to fend off a gallant Kei Nishikori and reach the quarter-finals of the Australian Open on Monday.

Top seed Nadal had come hurtling into the match with a brutal demolition of Gael Monfils, but encountered a far different beast in 16th seeded Japanese, who broke his serve for the first time in the tournament and rattled the Spaniard in a 7-6 (7-3) 7-5 7-6 (7-3) loss at Rod Laver Arena.

Battling fatigue, the impressive Nishikori rallied from 4-1 down to serve for the third set but Nadal broke back to force the high-quality clash into a second tense tiebreak.

The weary Nishikori belted a shot long to give Nadal three match points and the Spaniard sealed it on the first to set up a quarter-final with 22nd seed Grigor Dimitrov. (Editing by John O'Brien)

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