Sport Nadal shakes off 'emotional' first-set epic to win
Open from Australia: Around half Djokovic-Nadal If the world's # 1 plays
© Panoramic Novak Djokovic, Series # 1 head always under the threat of expulsion. A court decision Monday authorizes the Serb to remain in the territory despite irregularities in the procedure for obtaining its visa. But the holding of the title, not vaccinated against COVID, is pending a decision of the Australian Minister of Immigration, which enjoys discretion to expel it.
Men's No.6 seed Rafael Nadal survived a first-set scare to then dominate French opponent Adrian Mannarino and cruise into the Australian Open quarter finals.
Nadal was seriously challenged early on, failing to earn a single break point in the opening set and letting it go to a tiebreak.
The tiebreak then turned into a 28-minute epic which Nadal eventually won 16-14, fending off a number of set points from his challenger.
Mannarino was grabbing at his groin at the end of the 82-minute first set and from there he provided little resistance against the 20-time grand slam champion.
Novak Djokovic's Australian Open fate will be decided by the Federal Court today
The Federal Court will sit in Melbourne at 9:30am AEDT to decide if Novak Djokovic is allowed to remain in the country and compete in the Australian Open.The Serbian world number one men's tennis player will make his last attempt to play in the year's first grand slam after his visa was revoked by Immigration Minister Alex Hawke.
Nadal won the match 7-6 (16-14) 6-2 6-2 in the heat of Rod Laver Arena.
The champion Spaniard spoke about the 28-minute tiebreak after clinching the victory.
Video: Rafael Nadal tests positive for COVID-19 (Sky News Australia)
"The first set was so, so emotional. Anything could happen there," Nadal said on-court.
"I was a little bit lucky out there, I had my chances. He had a lot of collapses too.
"While everybody knows how mentally this game is, it's a tough one... and after that crazy first set I think it was so important (I got the) the break at the beginning of the second.
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Djokovic's grand slam record tilt in limbo
World No.1 Novak Djokovic may need to reconsider his vaccination status if he wants to continue chasing the all-time record of most men's grand slam titles.Missing the Australian Open - and potentially the following two editions at Melbourne Park unless he successfully appeals an automatic three-year ban from the country - could just be the tip of the iceberg for the world No.1.
"I think he had been playing some fantastic tennis during the whole tournament against amazing players. Today the first set had been super difficult.
"His ball was very difficult to control, very flat, very fast and I'm very happy that I survived that first set without a doubt."
Tennis great Jim Courier voiced a number of concerns about Nadal during a "befuddling" opening from the 20-time grand slam champion.
Djokovic saga over amid Serbian anger
Deported Novak Djokovic has flown out of Melbourne amid Serbia's fury at the treatment of its national hero and as the grand slam he loves was set to begin.The grand slam was kicking off in Melbourne on Monday without its men's champion, who has been deported from Australia after an extraordinary 11-day saga amid protests from back home in Serbia that he's been treated scandalously.
The commentators suggested the Spaniard was standing too far back, and was too reluctant to move forward against Mannarino, particularly when receiving his serve.
Nadal has been nursing a foot injury and Courier believes the issue is hampering the champion.
"Cannot believe we're seeing Mannarino get this many good looks at Nadal. Nadal still seems to be idling," Courier said.
Nadal, though, is through to yet another grand slam quarter final.
He will take on either Alexander Zverev or Denis Shapovalov in the last eight.
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Dylan Alcott has paid an emotional tribute to long-time rival Andy Lapthorne after qualifying for another final.Alcott will play in an astonishing eighth consecutive Australian Open final, after he beat Lapthorne 6-3 6-0 today.