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Nadal survives Monfils fightback to reach quarter-finals

Tennis - Australian Open - Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia - 23/1/17 Spain's Rafael Nadal shakes hands after winning his Men's singles fourth round match against France's Gael Monfils. REUTERS/Thomas Peter
Tennis - Australian Open - Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia - 23/1/17 Spain's Rafael Nadal shakes hands after winning his Men's singles fourth round match against France's Gael Monfils. REUTERS/Thomas Peter

By Ian Ransom

MELBOURNE (Reuters) - Rafa Nadal returned to the grand slam big-time by fending off Gael Monfils 6-3 6-3 4-6 6-4 in a tense clash on Monday to reach the Australian Open quarter-finals.

Former champion Nadal had not reached the last eight in a major since the 2015 French Open, so he celebrated wildly after closing out the two-hour 56-minute clash at a packed Rod Laver Arena.

It was not the most convincing of wins for the 30-year-old Spaniard, who was rattled when Monfils rallied in the fourth set, but the 14-times grand slam champion was clinical when it counted to keep his pursuit of a 15th major title alive.

Nadal will meet third seed Milos Raonic for a place in the semi-finals.

(Editing by Ed Osmond)

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