Rafa Nadal remained on course for a men’s record 21st Grand Slam title after winning a battle of left-handers against Adrian Mannarino 7-6(14) 6-2 6-2 to reach the quarter-finals of the Australian Open on Sunday.
The only former champion left in the men’s draw, 2009 winner Nadal is tied on 20 majors with injured Roger Federer and nine-times Melbourne Park winner Novak Djokovic, who was deported from Australia before the tournament began.
Mannarino had lost both his previous meetings against Nadal and came into the contest after a demanding third-round victory over Russian Aslan Karatsev in a match that lasted four hours and 39 minutes.
And after an intense opening set, which included a 30-point tiebreaker and lasted 81 minutes, the 69th-ranked Frenchman wilted under the blazing afternoon sun at the Rod Laver Arena as Nadal sealed the win with an ace on his first match point.
The former world number one will next meet either German third seed Alexander Zverev or another left-hander in Denis Shapovalov of Canada for a place in the semi-finals.