Nadal into QFs after trumping Wawrinka in scintillating clash
Top seed Rafael Nadal won through to the ATP Rogers Cup quarter-finals after prevailing against Stan Wawrinka in a high-quality encounter on Thursday.
It was a masterclass in Toronto, where world number one Nadal came out on top 7-5 7-6 (7-4) after more than two hours of scintillating tennis.
Nadal had to dig deep in a contest that left Canadian fans on their feet as the 17-time grand slam champion advanced to face Australian Open finalist and sixth seed Marin Cilic.
Wawrinka has struggled this season following a second knee operation but the three-time major winner was back to his brilliant best against Nadal.
It was a slow start for Wawrinka, who looked to be enjoying a straightforward opening service game until Nadal earned two break points, which were emphatically saved by the Swiss.
Nadal did not face a break point until the ninth game when he fell 0-40 behind at 4-4, though the Spanish star rallied to fend off all three.
That triggered a run from Nadal, who had two opportunities to close out the first set before rain delayed play for 46 minutes.
Returning to serve for the set at 6-5, Nadal producing a stunning display of tennis to draw first blood against the shell-shocked Wawrinka.
Nadal looked set to run away with the match as he reeled off four successive games for a 2-0 advantage, only for Wawrinka to break back with a trademark backhand down the line.
Wawrinka then enjoyed a run of his own, winning four games in succession to move 4-2 ahead in a red-hot display.
And Wawrinka had the opportunity to force a deciding set at 5-4 but Nadal broke back – an extraordinary forehand winner sparking a wild celebration and providing the latter with the chance he needed to triumph.