Sydney: World No. 1 Rafa Nadal won a battle of attrition against fellow left-hander Yoshihito Nishioka of Japan 7-6, 6-4 to seal Spain’s spot in the final eight of the inaugural ATP Cup in Perth on Wednesday.
Meanwhile his long-time rival, world No 2 Novak Djokovic, had an easier outing in Brisbane, strolling past Chile’s Cristian Garin 6-3, 6-3 to stay undefeated in the new year and to ensure Serbia will travel to Sydney for the knockouts having won all three of their ties.
Nadal had to twice fight back from a break down against the Japanese world No. 72 in the opening set before winning the tiebreaker while the Spaniard broke his opponent’s serve to go up 5-4 in the second before holding serve for victory.