Australian Open - Rafael Nadal defeats Kevin Anderson to reach quarters

Rafael Nadal savoured the best win of his campaign at Melbourne Park in felling South African Kevin Anderson 7-5 6-1 6-4 to storm into the Australian Open quarter-finals on Sunday.

Staff Reporter
25 January 2015, 11:06am
Rafael Nadal of Spain celebrates defeating Kevin Anderson of South Africa to win their men's singles fourth round match at the Australian Open 2015 tennis tournament
Rafael Nadal of Spain celebrates defeating Kevin Anderson of South Africa to win their men's singles fourth round match at the Australian Open 2015 tennis tournament
On the comeback trail after illness and injury, the Spanish third seed wrote off his chances in the lead-up but now finds himself in the last eight with energy to spare after needing little more than two hours to despatch the 6ft-8in (2.03 metre) Anderson on a cloudy day at Rod Laver Arena.

Nadal will play Czech seventh seed Tomas Berdych for a place in the semi-finals, and will surely feel confident against a man he has beaten in their last 18 encounters.

"(Berdych) is playing great. Will be a very tough opponent, no?" Nadal told reporters.

"But for me, quarter-finals is a great result, talking seriously. Arriving here, losing in the first round of Qatar, not playing matches for the last seven months, to have the chance to be in quarter-finals again here is a very positive thing for me.

"I try to play better and better every day. If that happens, I hope to keep having chances for the next match.

"But today is a day to be happy the way that I improved my level of everything... all the things I have to do on court."

Nadal had to weather an early serving storm from 14th seed Anderson and was forced on the back foot by his rangy opponent at 5-5 in the first set, who prised five break points from the Spaniard in the 11th game.

Nadal would save them all by mixing a string of crunching serves with forehand winners, rattling Anderson who was promptly broken in the next game when he dunked a regulation volley in to the net.

"So (I) just tried to play with the right decision, right determination, and I did. Worked well. But sometimes works well, sometimes doesn't," Nadal said.

From there, Nadal completed an eight-game tear to take complete control of the contest and after an early break in the third set, cruised to victory, preserving himself for a possibly tougher encounter against hard-hitting Berdych.

"Doesn't matter what happened in the past. It's a different story this time," said the Spaniard. "Different moment for me; different moment for him.

"He's a great player. I have success against him, but I have (had) the chances to lose against him."