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Nadal continues his challenge in Melbourne and will face Shapovalov in the quarterfinals

The adventure continues for Rafael Nadal in Australia. The 2009 champion will seek a place in the semi-finals of the tournament after beating Frenchman Adrien Mannarino

by 7-6 (14), 6-2 and 6-2. His rival will be the Canadian Dennis Shapovalov who surprised the German Alexander Zverev (3 world) by beating him by 6- 3, 7-6 (5) and 6-3.

“I didn't expect to be here a few weeks ago”, Nadal insisted after a victory that places him for the 14th time in the quarterfinals of the tournament since He made his debut, aged 18, in 2005. Now, at 35, with problems in his left foot, which forced him to stop competing for six months last season, the former number 1 is so cautious about his chances at the title , as grateful for “being able to play and compete”.

Mannarino , 33 years old, 69 in the world and left-handed like Nadal , was an uncomfortable but affordable opponent for a round of 16 at a Grand Slam. Nadal had beaten him twice and this Sunday he He repeated without giving up a set, although suffering in a first set that was decided in a marathon 'tie break', after 28 minutes and 30 points at stake.

“A crazy tie break”

“It was the crazy tie break, one of the craziest of my career. It wouldn't let me breathe, it gave everything back. Winning it was half a game”, Nadal highlighted

who did not he pointed it out until the sixth 'set ball' and after Mannarino wasted one with 8-7 and another with 12-11, in some stands of the Rod Laver lit up with the spectacle of the two tennis players.

After losing that round, Mannarino , with some abdominal problems, was no longer the same rival and Nadal certified the match with 16 aces, 88% of points with the first serve and 42 winning shots.

“A victory of many value”, valued the Balearic tennis player in order to continue his challenge in Melbourne where he now awaits Shapovalov

who has won three of the four times they have faced each other. The Canadian surprised him in the first, at the Masters 1,000 in Canada, where he made himself known, at only 17 years old.

Shapovalov has a lot of amazing stuff. If you play well it's hard to stop. I have always said that I saw him as a Grand Slam champion”, Nadal acknowledged. And he played very well against Zverev, who was the favorite and came into the match having won his previous three matches without giving up a set until yesterday he snatched three in a row and his hopes in the tournament. “I played a horrible game, the worst in a long time”, admitted Zverev with red eyes, disappointed by the missed opportunity.

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Nadal has seen his part of the draw open up since the tournament began following the deportation of

Novak Djokovic , who should be his theoretical rival in the semifinals , and now the removal of Zverev.

Thus and all the Balearic tennis player avoids talking about his options to win the title and the 21st Grand Slam of his career. “I don't know if I feel ready to win the title. I go day by day, as always. When I got here, I knew I wasn't a candidate, but now I'm in a better position than I was 10 days ago”, emphasized Nadal.

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