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Updated: January 20, 2014 15:49 IST

Nadal struggles to marathon win over Nishikori

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Rafael Nadal advanced to the quarterfinals of the Australian Open after with a 7-6 (3), 7-5, 7-6 (3) win over Kei Nishikori.
AP Rafael Nadal advanced to the quarterfinals of the Australian Open after with a 7-6 (3), 7-5, 7-6 (3) win over Kei Nishikori.

Rafael Nadal fought off a challenge from Japan’s Kei Nishikori and drew a time violation from the chair on his way to a 7-6 (7-3), 7-5, 7-6 (7-3) Australian Open fourth round win, which took more than three hours to complete on Monday.

The Spanish top seed was warned by umpire Eva Asderaki and could not hide an angry glare as he got on with his business of tamping down his opponent’s upset hopes.

Nadal is looking to become the first man in the Open era to win all four majors twice.

“The referee makes the decision, so I just respect her, even if I was not happy with the decision.” said Nadal, who next plays Grigor Dimitrov after the Bulgarian beat Spain’s Roberto Bautista Agut 6-3, 3-6, 6-2, 6-4 for a place in the quarterfinals.

“I know the rules are there, but timing is tough sometimes,” said Nadal, who added: “I was close to losing every set; I had to run a lot.”

Sharapova exits

There was a second women’s upset after the loss of Serena Williams with Dominika Cibulkova knocking out third seed Maria Sharapova 3-6, 6-4, 6-1 to reach a first Melbourne quarterfinal.

Victoria Azarenka beat American Sloane Stephens 6-3, 6-2, marked by some overly aggressive targeting of the opponent, but made no mention of an incident in which she was hit hard on the hit by a Stephens return.

“That’s tennis, I’m just focused on the next point,” said the second seed. “Maybe she had an open court, but she chose that shot. I have no problem with that.”

Romanian 11th seed Simona Halep beat eighth seed Jelena Jankovic 6-4, 2-6, 6-0.

Sharapova, who only returned to the courts at the start of the month after missing half a year with a shoulder injury, took a medical timeout after the second set.

“I have a bit of a strain, the trainer told me, in the hip area. I think it was just because I played a lot,” the Russian said.

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Rules are made for all. Only people like Nadal and Serena whine. They
are truly not champions as they lack grace totally. Contrast these two
with Djoko, Federer....

from:  Ravi
Posted on: Jan 20, 2014 at 17:05 IST
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