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Nadal, Edmund Advance to Quarterfinals

Nadal, Edmund Advance to QuarterfinalsNadal, Edmund Advance to Quarterfinals
Nadal lost last year’s Australian Open final to Roger Federer, but went on to regain the No. 1 ranking and win the French and US Open titles

If Rafael Nadal wanted a fitness test in the first week of the Australian Open, he got one in his almost four-hour, 6-3, 6-7 (4), 6-3, 6-3 win over Diego Schwartzman.

No. 3-ranked Grigor Dimitrov did it tough, too, before advancing to the quarterfinals at the expense of the last Aussie in the draw. Dimitrov avenged a loss two weeks ago to Nick Kyrgios with a 7-6 (3), 7-6 (4), 4-6, 7-6 (4) win on Sunday night, CBS Sports reported.

He will next face Kyle Edmund, who reached his first Grand Slam quarterfinal with a 6-7 (4), 7-5, 6-2, 6-3 win over Andreas Seppi earlier in the afternoon and could relax and watch the night-time entertainment.

Nadal, with his spot in a 10th Australian Open quarterfinal secure, draped an arm around his Argentine friend Schwartzman and patted him on top of the head after they met at the net.

“A great battle ... he’s a good friend of mine,” Nadal said. “This is the first big match that I played in 2018. That’s confidence for myself ... confidence I can resist for four hours on court at a good intensity.”

Nadal lost last year’s Australian Open final to Roger Federer, but went on to regain the No. 1 ranking and win the French and US Open titles before bringing his season to a premature end because of an injured right knee.

 Unrelenting

He did not play a competitive match before the season-opening major, and advanced through three rounds without dropping a set.

That streak finished when Schwartzman took the second set, rebounding three times after dropping a serve to break back against Nadal and level the match.

Nadal lifted to win the third, but Schwatzman did not relent. The second game of the fourth set lasted almost 13 minutes and 20 points, with Nadal finally holding after saving five break points.

The 16-time major winner broke again in the next game and withstood more break points -- seven in all in the last set and 15 of 18 in the match -- before clinching it in 3 hours, 51 minutes.

“It was a good test for me. It was a lot of hours on court. Moments under pressure,” Nadal said. “So, yeah, a lot of positive things that I managed well.” Nadal will next play 2014 US Open champion Marin Cilic, who collected his 100th Grand Slam match win with a 6-7 (2), 6-3, 7-6 (0), 7-6 (3) victory over No. 10 Pablo Carreno Busta.

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