Rafael Nadal looked back to his best after recent problems as exciting Australian youngster Nick Kyrgios won a memorable five-setter to reach the quarter-finals at the Australian Open on Sunday.
Spain’s world number three Nadal mastered big-serving South African Kevin Anderson 7-5, 6-1, 6-4 on Rod Laver Arena to set up a last eight showdown with Czech seventh seed Tomas Berdych.
It will be Nadal’s eighth quarter-final appearance as he bids for his second Australian title after losing to Stan Wawrinka in last year’s decider.
Nadal, who won the Open in 2009, showed no signs of the cramps and dizzy spells he suffered when taken to five sets by American Tim Smyczek in the second round as he starts hitting top form.
“After a tough period of time for me it’s a fantastic result and I’m very happy with the way I played today,” he said.
“It was probably my best match here this year so that’s very important for me and very special.”
Berdych was too strong for Australia’s Bernard Tomic, winning in straight sets.
Berdych, a semi-finalist last year, had too much power for the 66th-ranked Tomic to win 6-2, 7-6 (7/3), 6-2 in 2hr 1min, taking his record against the Australian to 3-0.
He has now made the quarters for the third straight year without losing a set.
“I was feeling good on the court. It’s not easy, the crowd was great but they’re on the other side,” Berdych said.
“I’m not complaining about it, but I’m just saying that was the set-up of today’s match. I’m happy with the way I handled it and glad to be in the quarter-finals.”
– High emotion –
There was high emotion on Hisense Arena as local teen Kyrgios roared back from match point down to overhaul Roger Federer’s conquerer Andreas Seppi in five sets.
The 53rd-ranked Kyrgios defeated the 46th-ranked Italian 5-7, 4-6, 6-3, 7-6 (7/5) 8-6 and will play Andy Murray in the final eight.
Kyrgios fought off a match point at 5-6 in the fourth set and went on to force a tiebreaker before downing Seppi in a titanic fifth set in front of a charged home crowd.
It will be the second quarter-final inside a year for the 19-year-old after he reached the last eight atWimbledon, becoming the first male teen to reach multiple Grand Slam quarter-finals since Federer in 2001.
“When I saw I had finally won the match it was incredible. It was the best feeling I ever had,” Kyrgios said.
“To know the body could come back from two sets to love, knowing I haven’t had matches, it’s just massive confidence.”
Murray rode his luck to fight back and win an engrossing four-setter over Grigor Dimitrov in the night match on Rod Laver Arena.
Sixth seed Murray beat the 10th seeded Bulgarian 6-4, 6-7 (5/7), 6-3, 7-5 to set up his intriguing showdown with Kyrgios.
The British star showed fantastic fighting qualities to claw back from 2-5 down in the fourth set to deny the Bulgarian taking the epic match into a fifth and deciding set.
Murray, a two-time Grand Slam champion but luckless in Melbourne in three losing finals, will now have to battle a partisan home crowd when he takes on Kyrgios on Tuesday. – Agence France-Presse