BEIJING: Second seed Rafael Nadal survived a late fightback from Adrian Mannarino as he beat the French qualifier 6-1 7-6(6) on Thursday to reach the quarter-finals of the China Open during a rain-hit day in Beijing.
The 30-year-old got off to a quick start, winning nine of the first 11 games. However, Mannarino rallied back to force the second set into a tiebreak before Nadal ended the contest on his second match point.
“I think I played a fantastic first set. Great level of tennis, serving very good, hitting so good. During the second set, I slowed the rhythm a little bit and he played very well,” Nadal, a 14-times grand slam champion, told reporters.
“I think I played with the right amount of determination in the tiebreak. It’s very important for my confidence to pass through these tough moments.”
Nadal will face Bulgaria’s Grigor Dimitrov in the quarter-finals on Friday.
Dimitrov, who is bidding to reach his third final of the year, was two points away from defeat against sixth seed Lucas Pouille but fought back for a gruelling 6(3)-7 7-6(0) 6-4 victory in two hours and 26 minutes.
“Especially in the second set, when he was serving for the match. I felt I was playing good tennis,” the 25-year-old Dimitrov told reporters.
“All I could do was stay composed, try to hit every ball that I could and use every opportunity. They came a bit late, but I’m pretty happy with it.”
All other matches were cancelled due to rain, including third seed Milos Raonic second round clash against Tunisia’s Malek Jaziri.