(Reuters) - Former world number one Rafa Nadal says regaining control of his emotions has sparked a resurgence that continued on Thursday when he reached the Shanghai Masters quarter-finals with victory against Canadian Milos Raonic.
Nadal, seeded eighth, has won three titles this year but the Spaniard has struggled to find the form that earned him 14 grand slam titles.
He suffered a crushing second-round defeat by Dustin Brown at Wimbledon and followed that with a third-round exit at the U.S. Open to Fabio Fognini, but since arriving in China the 29-year-old has looked more like his old self.
Although he was hammered by world number one Novak Djokovic in the Beijing final last week he still enjoyed a good run, and this week he has posted back-to-back wins over Ivo Karlovic and Milos Raonic -- two of the biggest servers in the game.
His 6-3 7-6(3) defeat of Raonic was his first win against a top-10 opponent in six attempts.
"Today, I felt that I was not playing with as much nerves when I am on court," Nadal told the ATP website. "I was able to enjoy the match."
"Winning a match 7‑6 in the third yesterday and winning a match again today in the tiebreak of a second set, two tiebreaks without losing a point with my serve, it's impossible if you don't have control of your emotions.
"That's something that, a couple of months ago, would have been impossible for me."
Nadal will meet Stanislas Wawrinka on Friday, hoping to avoid a third consecutive defeat by the Swiss after 12 successive wins against him.
Reporting by Martyn Herman,; Editing by Neville Dalton