MELBOURNE (Reuters) - World number one Rafa Nadal held off a spirited challenge from local favourite Nick Kyrgios to win in four tight sets and advance to the Australian Open quarter-finals on Monday.
Nadal, bidding for a record-equalling 20th major title, dropped his first set of the tournament but came through 6-3 3-6 7-6(6) 7-6(4) and set up an encounter with fifth seed Dominic Thiem.
Three-time Grand Slam champion Stan Wawrinka produced some of his best tennis in recent years to battle past fourth seed Daniil Medvedev 6-2 2-6 4-6 7-6(2) 6-2 in a seesaw encounter.
Wawrinka will next face seventh seed Alexander Zverev, who reached his first quarter-final in Melbourne with a 6-4 6-4 6-4 win over Russian youngster Andrey Rublev.
In the women’s draw, Wimbledon champion Simona Halep overcame Elise Mertens in straight sets, while Garbine Muguruza moved into her first Grand Slam quarter-final in nearly two years with a comfortable win over Kiki Bertens.
Russia’s Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova fought back from a set down against former champion Angelique Kerber and finished with an incredible tally of 71 winners in a 6-7(5) 7-6(4) 6-2 victory.
Highlights of the eighth day at the Australian Open, the first Grand Slam tournament of the year, on Monday (times AEDT; GMT+11):
Nadal rides out Kyrgios challenge to reach quarter-finals
Djokovic leads tennis community in mourning ‘mentor’ Bryant
Wawrinka finds the answers to take down Medvedev
Thiem sails past Monfils into maiden Melbourne quarters
Zverev halts Rublev juggernaut to reach first Melbourne quarters
Pavlyuchenkova ousts former champion Kerber to reach quarters
Counter-punching Halep beats Mertens to reach quarters
Kontaveit holds off teenager Swiatek to reach last eight
Muguruza powers past Bertens into last eight
Coaches welcome WTA trial of allowing coaching from box
‘Blessed’ Sandgren hopes to keep dream alive
Australian Open order of play on Tuesday
World number one Rafa Nadal withstood 25 aces from Nick Kyrgios to beat the local favourite 6-3 3-6 7-6(6) 7-6(4).
Nadal, the 2009 Australian Open champion, has progressed to the quarter-finals at a Grand Slam for the 41st time, equalling American great Jimmy Connors in third place on the all-time list.
German seventh seed Alexander Zverev reached his first Australian Open quarter-final with a 6-4 6-4 6-4 win over Russian Andrey Rublev, who arrived at the tournament with back-to-back titles in Adelaide and Qatar.
Russian Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova rallied from a set down to beat former champion Angelique Kerber 6-7(5) 7-6(4) 6-2 to move into the quarter-finals in Melbourne for the third time in four years.
Swiss Stan Wawrinka, the 2014 champion, battled past Daniil Medvedev 6-2 2-6 4-6 7-6(2) 6-2 for his first victory over the Russian fourth seed in their third career meeting.
Unseeded Spaniard Garbine Muguruza continued her charge towards a third Grand Slam title and first since Wimbledon 2017 with a 6-3 6-3 fourth-round win over ninth seed Kiki Bertens.
Muguruza, who thumped Elina Svitolina in the last round, has now won back-to-back matches against top-10 opposition for the first time in three years.
Anett Kontaveit of Estonia, seeded 28th, rallied from a set down to beat Polish 18-year-old Iga Swiatek 6-7(4) 7-5 7-5 to secure her maiden quarter-final appearance at a Grand Slam.
Dominic Thiem’s mother began a tradition last year of getting a tattoo every time he captures a title and the world number five was asked about it after a fourth-round win over Gael Monfils.
“Unfortunately I have to confirm it,” Thiem, who won five titles last year, said in a courtside interview to leave the crowd in stitches. “I really would like to deny it, but no.”
Asked what she could get inked if he clinches the title by winning his next three matches in Melbourne, Thiem said: “For sure, a kangaroo.”
Austrian Dominic Thiem continued his dominance over Gael Monfils, outclassing the 10th-seeded Frenchman 6-2 6-4 6-4 to improve his head-to-head record to 6-0. The fifth seed faces Rafa Nadal in the quarter-finals.
Former world number one Rod Laver pledged to donate the proceeds of an auction of one of his favourite Dunlop 1969 raquets for Australian bushfire relief.
“I am deeply saddened by the fires that have ravaged this beautiful land. I still call Australia home,” the 11-times Grand Slam champion tweeted.
Fourth-seeded Simona Halep reached the quarter-finals of a Grand Slam for the 14th time in her career with a convincing 6-4 6-4 win over Elise Mertens. The 2018 runner-up won 74% of points on her first serve and made only eight unforced errors.
Compiled by Greg Stutchbury, Shrivathsa Sridhar and Hardik Vyas; Editing by Kim Coghill, Muralikumar Anantharaman, Peter Rutherford, Christian Radnedge