Rafael Nadal continued his impressive comeback from injury with a remarkable performance to see off Karen Khachanov in the third round of the Australian Open.
The 20-time Grand Slam champion was in sublime form for all but one set, coming through 6-3, 6-2, 3-6, 6-1 to move into the last-16.
Nadal went into the match off the back of a virtually flawless start, having come through straight set wins over Marcos Giron and Yannick Hanfmann, and he continued that form from the beginning of his match against the Russian.
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The sixth seed, who is showing little sign of having been out injured for so long, raced to a 3-0 lead, breaking Khachanov in the second game to 15. Nadal’s serving was impeccable and offered no way back in the set, eventually taking it 6-3.
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If that was impressive, the second set was more so. An opening game which lasted almost 13 minutes was finally secured by Nadal on the Khachanov serve and he quickly consolidated that by holding his own. There was a glimmer of hope for the 28th seed in the fourth game when he brought up a break back point, but his illustrious opponent quickly saw that off.
Nadal took full advantage, breaking again to go 5-1 up before securing a two-set lead, taking the second 6-2.
Khachanov looked like a different player at the start of the third set, finding his full range with some ferocious hitting and he got the break he deserved in the fourth game, holding on to that for the rest of the set despite coming under heavy pressure from Nadal.
It sparked the great champion into gear once again and he secured an early break in the fourth set with a superb double backhand passing shot down the line which left Khachanov watching on astonished. Nadal dropped just two points on serve all set and broke again to secure a dominant fourth set 6-1.
Khachanov celebrates after winning classic point against Nadal
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