Australian Open: Rafael Nadal edges past Kei Nishikori; Grigor Dimitrov makes history
Rafael Nadal set up a quarter-final clash with Grigor Dimitrov at the Australian Open after battling past Kei Nishikori.
Last Updated: 20/01/14 11:09am
Nadal had won all five of his previous meetings against Nishikori and, while he made it six out of six on Monday, he was pushed hard by his Japanese opponent before sealing a 7-6 (7/3) 7-5 7-6 (7/3) win at Rod Laver Arena.
The 13-time grand slam winner had not been broken previously in the tournament but dropped four of his service games before finally ending the impressive challenge of Nishikori in a match that lasted three hours and 17 minutes.
Next up for the Spaniard is Grigor Dimitrov, who became the first Bulgarian male to reach a grand slam quarter-final after beating Nadal's countryman Roberto Bautista Agut 6-3 3-6 6-2 6-4.
Dimitrov, appearing in his 14th grand slam event, broke the Spaniard four times en route to victory.
The No 22 seed fired down 11 aces and hit 38 winners, although 34 unforced errors meant Agut remained in the contest.
The 22-year-old, who beat 11th seed Milos Raonic in the third round, is the first Bulgarian male to reach the last eight of a grand slam.