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|21 January, 2018

Nadal weathers blast from pocket rocket Schwartzman

The victory ensured Nadal will retain his world number one ranking

Rafael Nadal of Spain reacts during his match against Diego Schwartzman of Argentina.

Rafael Nadal of Spain reacts during his match against Diego Schwartzman of Argentina.

Reuters/Thomas Peter
MELBOURNE - Top seed Rafa Nadal was rattled by a feisty challenge from Diego Schwartzman but held firm to fend off the diminutive Argentine 6-3 6-7(4) 6-3 6-3 to reach the quarter-finals of the Australian Open on Sunday.

In an often breathtaking clash boasting some sumptuous shot-making, the Spaniard was stunned by the hard-hitting Schwartzman who broke him three times before claiming the second set at Rod Laver Arena.

But the 16-times grand slam champion responded with typical grit, raising his defensive game to blanket the 24th seed's firepower and claiming the win on the third match point with a rocketed backhand return down the line.

The victory ensured Nadal will retain his world number one ranking and set up a meeting with sixth seed and former U.S. Open champion Marin Cilic for a place in the semi-finals.

(Editing by Sudipto Ganguly) ((ian.ransom@thomsonreuters.com; +61 3 9286 1447; Reuters Messaging: ian.ransom.reuters.com@reuters.net;))