MELBOURNE (Reuters) - An exhausted Kei Nishikori battled from two sets down to outlast Spain’s Pablo Carreno Busta 6-7(8) 4-6 7-6(4) 6-4 7-6(8) in an epic encounter on Monday and book his place in the Australian Open quarter-finals.
Dragged into a five-set dogfight for the third time in four rounds, Nishikori struggled to deal with the physical and mental strain early on as Carreno Busta took a two-set lead but the eighth seed clawed his way back to level the contest.
The Japanese blew an early a break in the fifth set but prevailed in the tiebreaker to seal the win in five hours and five minutes, much to the delight of his compatriots in the crowd at Margaret Court Arena.
Nishikori will next take on the winner of the match between world number one Novak Djokovic and Russia’s Daniil Medvedev.
Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru; Editing by Jon Boyle