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Australian Open: Nadal downs Monfils in four to set up Raonic showdown

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Spanish tennis star Rafael Nadal advanced to the quarter-finals of the Australian Open defeating Frenchman Gael Monfils 6-3, 6-3, 4-6, 6-4 in a seesaw contest on Monday.

The 30-year-old Spaniard, who won the Australian Open in 2009, is delivering world-class performances this year in Melbourne, after he was eliminated in the first round in the previous edition.

Nadal raced through the opening couple of sets with consummate ease before Monfils fought back to break Nadal's serve in the all important ninth game of the third set to nudge his way back into the contest.

Nadal had chances to break back but Monfils showed he wasn't done yet as he held on to a force a fourth set.

The Frenchman continued his momentum to go up an early break in the fourth and looked to be well on course to taking the match into a decider. However, Nadal rediscovered his top form to win three games in a row from 3-4 down including affecting a double break to get out of jail and book his place in the quarter-finals.

"Gael is a special player. He's able to play unbelievable shots. He's one of the more charismatic players on the tour. A pleasure to see him in the top of the rankings. Great for our sport," Nadal said after the match, which he won in two hours and 55 minutes.

"Very happy being in the quarterfinals in a Grand Slam after a couple of years without being there, is very special for me and especially here in Australia, where it feels a little like home, crowd is always supporting me," Nadal added.

Nadal, the World No.9, will now play the next round against Canadian Milos Raonic, who earlier on Monday eliminated the other Spaniard Roberto Bautista in a match that ended 7-6 (8-6), 3-6, 6-4, 6-1 in two hours and 52 minutes.

"(Against Raonic I have to) play very well, that's the only way, no?" Nadal said.

"He beat me a couple of weeks ago in Brisbane. It was a tough game. He's a top player with an amazing serve, so I need to be focused with my serve and wait for opportunities on my return," he added.

Nadal has won in six of eight previous matches against Raonic.