Rafael Nadal Defeats Adrian Mannarino, Advances to Australian Open Quarterfinals

Adam WellsJanuary 23, 2022

Rafael Nadal of Spain celebrates after defeating Adrian Mannarino of France in their fourth round match at the Australian Open tennis championships in Melbourne, Australia, Sunday, Jan. 23, 2022. (AP Photo/Hamish Blair)
AP Photo/Hamish Blair

Rafael Nadal is into the Australian Open quarterfinals after a straight-set victory 7-6 (14), 6-2, 6-2 over Adrian Mannarino in the fourth round on Saturday night.

The match was highlighted by an epic first-set tiebreak that featured 30 total points between the two players and took 82 minutes to complete.

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The Nadal effect🔥 <a href="https://twitter.com/RafaelNadal?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@RafaelNadal</a> <br><br>🎥: <a href="https://twitter.com/AustralianOpen?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@AustralianOpen</a> | <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/AusOpen?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#AusOpen</a> | <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/AO2022?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#AO2022</a> <a href="https://t.co/CsgPvwSviB">pic.twitter.com/CsgPvwSviB</a>

Mannarino had four set-point opportunities in the opener and saved six chances from Nadal, but the seventh one finally proved to be too much for him.

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Words I didn't think I'd be typing:<br><br>Rafael Nadal just won a 28-minute 1st set tiebreak 16-14 against Adrian Mannarino.<br><br>The longest of his career. One of the best too.<br><br>He had to save 4 set points. He eventually converted his 7th.<br><br>The shot-making was extraordinary. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/AusOpen?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#AusOpen</a>

"First set [was] very, very emotional," Nadal told reporters after the match. "Anything could happen there. I was a little bit lucky at the end. I had chances; he had a lot of chances too."

Nadal and Mannarino combined for 11 aces, 36 winners and 24 unforced errors in the first set.

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Pick your jaw up off the floor…😲😲😲<a href="https://twitter.com/RafaelNadal?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@RafaelNadal</a> clinches the first set in an EPIC cat and mouse tiebreak 7-6(14). <br><br>Get that popcorn in a bowl, STAT. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/AusOpen?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#AusOpen</a> · <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/AO2022?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#AO2022</a> <a href="https://t.co/mFo7XHfGIl">pic.twitter.com/mFo7XHfGIl</a>

Things settled down after the first set with Nadal only losing four total games over the next two sets. He had 16 total aces against Mannarino, four more than in his first three matches of the tournament combined.

Mannarino, whose fourth-round appearance marked his deepest run at the Australian Open, seemed to run out of steam after that grueling opener. The 33-year-old was playing this match less than 24 hours after his victory over Aslan Karatsev that took four hours, 38 minutes to complete.

The Associated Press noted Mannarino appeared to be nursing an injury to his abdomen or upper leg throughout the match. He didn't mention anything while speaking to reporters afterward.

Nadal is chasing his second career Australian Open title. He previously won this tournament in 2009 and reached the final most recently in 2019, when he lost to Novak Djokovic. 

The 35-year-old will take on No. 14 Denis Shapovalov in the quarterfinal on Monday. Shapovalov upset third-seeded Alexander Zverev 6-3, 7-6 (5), 6-3 in the fourth round.