Rafael Nadal had many thrilling moments in the season behind us, winning two Majors despite injuries and setbacks. The Spaniard missed the second part of 2021 and made a perfect return at the start of 2022, conquering his first Australian Open crown since 2009.
Nadal faced Adrian Mannarino in the fourth round and delivered a 7-6, 6-2, 6-2 triumph in two hours and 40 minutes. Adrian did his best to challenge Rafa in the opener, reaching a tie break and making it memorable! The Frenchman squandered four set points and lost it 16-14 after almost half an hour of a roller coaster ride.
Nadal prevailed and took a massive boost that carried him toward a one-sided scoreboard in sets two and three. Mannarino lost only a couple of points behind the initial shot in the opening set and kept the pressure on the other side.
Rafa faced a break point at 5-5 and saved it with a service winner to avoid the setback.
Rafael Nadal and Adrian Mannarino played a 30-minute tie break in Melbourne.
A left-handed Frenchman fired a service winner in the 12th game to introduce a tie break that went down to the wire!
Nadal claimed three straight points from 4-2 down and gained the advantage with a service winner. The Spaniard earned two set points in the tenth point with a brilliant forehand crosscourt winner. The Frenchman stayed focused and saved both with brave hitting for 6-6.
Adrian saved another set point at 6-7 with an unreturned serve and wasted his chance at 8-7 following Rafa’s service winner. Nadal squandered two more set points at 10-9 and 11-10 before Mannarino earned three opportunities at 12-11, 13-12 and 14-13.
Rafa erased them with winners to prolong the battle. The Spaniard seized the seventh set point at 15-14 after Adrian’s volley error at the net for a massive boost after an hour and 20 minutes! Nadal barely lost a point behind the initial shot in set number two and broke in the opening game for a considerable advantage.
Rafa delivered another return game at 3-1 with a backhand winner and held at love with a forehand winner at 5-2 for two sets to love advantage. The Spaniard seized the fifth break chance at the beginning of the third set after the Frenchman’s loose forehand.
Mannarino placed a perfect lob winner in the second game for three break chances and seized the first after Nadal’s double fault. Rafa earned three break opportunities in the third game, and Adrian fended them off with fine hitting.
Mannarino denied two more break points before losing ground on the sixth to get broken after a wayward volley. Adrian hit a double fault to lose serve in game five and fall 4-1 behind. Rafa landed a service winner in game six and served for the victory at 5-2.
Nadal created three match points with a forehand winner and converted the first with an ace for a place in the quarter-final.