Rafael Nadal continued his quest for a record-tying 20th Grand Slam title by ousting local favorite Nick Kyrgios on Monday to reach the Australian Open quarterfinals in Melbourne.
The top-seeded Spaniard landed 64 winners and just 27 unforced errors in a 6-3, 3-6, 7-6 (6), 7-6 (4) win that lasted three hours and 38 minutes. The world No. 1 improved to 5-3 against Kyrgios, who struck 25 aces and finished with 50 winners and 43 unforced errors.
"It was a very tough match," Nadal said during his on-court interview. "In the beginning I was in control, but you're never in control against Nick. ... When he plays like today with a positive attitude, he gives a lot to the sport."
Nadal, 33, is not only attempting to match Roger Federer's record haul of 20 major championships, but the 2009 Australian champ is also bidding to become the first man in the Open Era to win each of the four Grand Slams multiple times.
Nadal will face No. 5 seed Dominic Thiem of Austria for a berth in the semifinals.
Thiem took down No. 10 seed Gael Monfils of France in straight sets, 6-2, 6-4, 6-4. Nadal holds a 9-4 lead over Thiem in their head-to-head meetings, including wins in the French Open finals in 2018 and 2019.
"It will be tough, we know each other very well," Nadal said of Thiem, who never faced a break point against Monfils.
"He's a great character and a tough competitor. I will need to play at my best, but I feel I am moving in the right direction."
No. 15 seed Stan Wawrinka of Switzerland came from behind for a 6-2, 2-6, 4-6, 7-6 (2), 6-2 win against No. 4 Daniil Medvedev of Russia. The 2014 Australian Open champion overcame 64 unforced errors with 71 winners and 18 aces over three hours and 25 minutes.
Wawrinka reached the quarterfinals here for the fifth time, the first since 2017.
"That was an amazing match and an amazing atmosphere," Wawrinka said. "It was really tough to play against Daniil. I had to raise my level in the fourth and fifth sets. The level was super high and the atmosphere is always something special here in Australia."
Wawrinka's next opponent is seventh-seeded German Alexander Zverev, who only needed one hour and 37 minutes to wrap up a 6-4, 6-4, 6-4 win against No. 17 Andrey Rublev of Russia. Wawrinka is 0-2 in his career against Zverev.
--Field Level Media