Australian Open: Rafael Nadal through to quarter-finals after longest tie-break of his career

Rafael Nadal managed a straight-set victory on Sunday morning, but not before an epic tie-break that lasted nearly half an hour.

Rafael Nadal took on France's Adrian Mannarino on Sunday morning, looking to book his place in the Australian Open quarter-finals for the sixth year in a row.

The tournament's sixth seed entered the match as a heavy favourite against the 33-year-old Mannarino, but both men's experience shone through early in the first set.

The pair raced to a tie-break, which ended up lasting a grueling 28 minutes.

Mannarino had four unsuccesful set points before Nadal finally clinched it on his seventh chance due a net cord and wild volley from his opponent.

Exhausted and mentally drained, it seemed as though the winner was almost crowned in the first set, with Mannarino struggling with injury in the second and third as Nadal sealed a 7-6 (14) 6-2 6-2 victory.

Following the match, the Spaniard pointed out the importance of winning the first set.

"The first set has been very, very emotional, anything could happen there.

"I was a little bit lucky at the end. Everybody knows how mental is this game. After that crazy first set was so important that break at the start of the second. I'm very happy that I survived that first set without a doubt."

Nadal will fancy his chances of winning his 21st Grand Slam title, and second in Australia, but he first faces the very difficult task of beating Denis Shapovolov.

The 14th seed was also in action on Sunday morning, and pulled off an impressive victory over third-ranked Alexander Zverev.

The 22-year-old Canadian is in great form, and will fancy his chances of replicating his 2018 feat of beating Nadal in Canada - a win which announced his arrival on the world stage.

Nadal recalled their first of four matchups after his win on Sunday, reinforcing his belief that Shapovolov will enjoy a trophy-laden career.

"After the match I said he is going to be a potential multi-grand slam winner," said Nadal.

"And I still think that, if he's able to keep improving, he will be a multi-grand slam winner. He has a lot of amazing things in his game, and his results say that. When he's playing well, it's very difficult to stop him."

The pair will go head-to-head on Tuesday, January 25, with a place in the semi-finals up for grabs.

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