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Aus Open PIX: Nadal survives Monfils fightback, Konta to meet Serena

Last updated on: January 23, 2017 18:51 IST

Grigor DimitrovIMAGES from all the action on Day 8 the Australian Open on Monday

Rafael Nadal

IMAGE:  Rafael Nadal returned to the Grand Slam big-time by fending off Gael Monfils. Photograph:  Cameron Spencer/Getty Images

Rafael 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.

Konta to meet Serena

Britain's Johanna Konta hits a shot during her fourth round match against Russia's Ekaterina Makarova at Melbourne Park on Monday

IMAGE: Britain's Johanna Konta hits a shot during her fourth round match against Russia's Ekaterina Makarova at Melbourne Park on Monday. Photograph: Jason Reed/Reuters

Johanna Konta advanced to an Australian Open quarter-final showdown with Serena Williams after the ninth seed dismantled Ekaterina Makarova 6-1, 6-4 in their fourth-round clash on Monday.

The 25-year-old Konta, Britain's last hope in the singles after Andy Murray and Dan Evans were bundled out on Sunday, took 69 minutes to send the Russian packing in temperatures approaching 35C.

Makarova was no match for Konta's serve or ground gam in the first set as she changed angles and depth of returns that prevented the left-hander from getting any rhythm.

Makarova, who beat sixth seed Dominika Cibulkova in the third round, raced to a 4-1 lead in the second set but Konta rallied to win the next five games and sealed victory on her second match point when the Russian's forehand sailed over the baseline.

Serena beats plucky Strycova to move to quarters

Serena Williams of the US celebrates winning her fourth round match against Czech Republic's Barbora Strycova

IMAGE: Serena Williams of the US celebrates winning her fourth round match against Czech Republic's Barbora Strycova. Photograph: Thomas Peter/Reuters

Earlier, Serena ground down dogged Strycova in scorching heat and stayed cool under pressure in a 7-5, 6-4 win over Czech Barbora Strycova to reach the Australian Open quarter-finals on Monday.

Second seed Williams was broken three times in the opening set at Rod Laver Arena and again when coasting to the finish line in the second but shifted up a gear when it counted to close out the match in one hour and 46 minutes.

Surprise package Baroni cruises in to quarters

Croatia's Mirjana Lucic-Baroni celebrates winning her fourth round match against the United States' Jennifer Brady on Monday

IMAGE: Croatia's Mirjana Lucic-Baroni celebrates winning her fourth round match against the United States' Jennifer Brady on Monday. Photograph: Darrian Traynor/Getty Images

Thirty-four-year-old Mirjana Lucic-Baroni dispatched American Jennifer Brady 6-4, 6-2 in little over an hour to advance to the Australian Open quarters, her first grand slam quarter-final since the 1999 Wimbledon championships on Monday.

Lucic-Baroni won her first singles match at MelbournePark in 1998 but had to wait 19 years for her second victory in the year's first grand slam last week.

Top surviving seed Raonic into last eight

Milos Raonic

IMAGE: Milos Raonic of Canada plays a backhand in his fourth round match against Roberto Bautista Agut of Spain. Photograph: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Third seed Milos Raonic came safely through a potentially tricky match against Roberto Bautista Agut 7-6(6), 3-6, 6-4, 6-1 to reach the Australian Open quarter-finals for the third straight year.

The Canadian, the highest surviving seed after the early departures of Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic, stamped his authority on a sometimes tempestuous match by breaking the Spanish world number 13 to win the third set.

Teak tough Bautista Agut is nothing if not a fighter but Raonic, who said he had been suffering from a fever after his third-round match, raced away with the fourth set to seal the victory with a forehand winner down the line.

The 26-year-old, who fired down 33 aces and 75 winners in the two hour, 52 minute contest, will next meet 2009 champion Rafael Nadal or Gael Monfils as he continues his quest for a maiden grand slam title.

Dimitrov beats injury-hampered Istomin to reach quarters

Bulgaria's Grigor Dimitrov celebrates winning his fourth round match against Uzbekistan's Denis Istomin

IMAGE: Bulgaria's Grigor Dimitrov celebrates winning his fourth round match against Uzbekistan's Denis Istomin. Photograph: Issei Kato/Reuters

Grigor Dimitrov reached his first grand slam quarter-final in over two years on Monday by defeating an injury-hampered Denis Istomin 2-6, 7-6(2), 6-2, 6-1 to end the Uzbek wildcard's fairytale run at Melbourne Park.

Istomin, who sensationally knocked out six-times champion Novak Djokovic in the second round, laboured with an apparent left thigh injury after winning the first set and 15th seed

Denis Istomin receives medical attention in his fourth round match against Grigor Dimitrov

IMAGE: Denis Istomin receives medical attention in his fourth round match against Grigor Dimitrov. Photograph: Quinn Rooney/Getty Images

Dimitrov took full advantage of his opponent's struggles.

Running 117th-ranked Istomin all over the Margaret Court Arena on a scorching hot day, Dimitrov raced through the last two sets and closed out the match in two hours and 24 minutes.

Dimitrov will play 11th seed David Goffin for a place in the semi-finals.

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