World no. 1 and the 19-time Major champion Rafael Nadal is through to his 12th quarter-final at the Australian Open, leaving Novak Djokovic on 11 and trailing only to Roger Federer. In a thrilling encounter, Nadal took down Nick Kyrgios 6-3, 3-6, 7-6, 7-6 in three hours and 38 minutes, staying on the title course and adding another milestone to his already impressive tally.
Beating the Aussie, Nadal has advanced into the 41st Major quarter-final overall, catching Jimmy Connors in the third place and standing only behind Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic! Reaching the first Major quarter-final at Roland Garros 2005 when he was only 18, Rafa was in the last eight in at least one Major in 15 of 16 years, winning only five Grand Slam matches in 2016 and bouncing back over the previous three seasons to hit the quarters in 12 of 13 Major events and catch the great American.
Here in Melbourne, the Spaniard is through to his 12th quarter-final, staying ahead of Novak Djokovic and trailing only to Roger Federer who keeps the top with 15. The last year’s finalist played well in the first three rounds against Hugo Dellien, Federico Delbonis and Pablo Carreno Busta to advance into the fourth round, facing the home star Nick Kyrgios in what turned to be one of the most exciting battles of the tournament so far.
After three hours and 38 minutes, Rafa prevailed in four sets, facing only three break points and moving through in the decisive moments to seal the deal before the decider and set the clash against Dominic Thiem. After losing the second set, Nadal had to work hard in sets three and four to bring the encounter home and earn another Major milestone at the age of 33.
With 12 quarter-finals in the last 13 Majors, Nadal is on one of the career-best streaks, saving his best tennis for the most important tournaments and chasing Roger Federer’s record of 20 Major titles, standing just one shy of the Swiss.