Rafael Nadal has advanced to the fourth round of the Australian Open with a 6-3, 6-2, 3-6, 6-1 victory over No. 28-seeded Karen Khachanov.
Nadal, aiming for a men’s record 21st Grand Slam singles title, was facing his first seeded opponent and dropped his first set of the tournament.
The sixth-seeded Nadal struggled in the third set when the 6-foot-6 Russian broke to go up 3-1 before taking the set in 57 minutes on Rod Laver Arena.
But the 35-year-old Nadal quickly regained control in a dominant fourth set, twice breaking the Olympic silver medalist.
Nadal shares the men’s record of 20 singles titles with Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic.
Djokovic, a nine-time champion at Melbourne Park, couldn’t play after having his visa canceled for failing to meet Australia’s strict COVID-19 vaccination regulations. Federer is skipping the Australian Open while he continues his recovery from injury.