'I got lucky', says Nadal after edging Dimitrov
By Simon Cambers
MELBOURNE (Reuters) - A battle-scarred Rafa Nadal admitted he got lucky as he moved into the semi-finals of the Australian Open on Wednesday with a 3-6 7-6 (3) 7-6 (7) 6-2 win over Bulgaria's Grigor Dimitrov.
Dimitrov had three set points in the third that would have given him a two sets to one lead, but world number one Nadal hit back to take the tiebreaker 9-7 before easing through the fourth to book his place in the last four.
"I got lucky," Nadal said in a courtside interview, referring to the third set, when Dimitrov had set point at 6-5 on the Nadal serve and then another two in the tiebreak.
A shanked return cost him the first one and he missed an easy forehand on the second before Nadal cut off the third with an angled volley.
The Spaniard, who missed last year's event through injury, then broke early in the fourth set to lead 2-0 and maintained his advantage to seal victory, leaving Dimitrov fighting back the tears.
"It was a great atmosphere, a great afternoon and I hope you enjoyed it, but I suffered a lot," Nadal told the crowd.
Dimitrov, seeded 22nd, broke Nadal in the second game of the match and raced to a 5-2 lead, holding on to win it 6-3 with some attractive shot-making.
Nadal hit back to win the second set and led by a break in the third before Dimitrov rallied, earning himself a set point chance at 6-5, only to see it slide away as the Spaniard prevailed in a tight tiebreaker. Continued...