Rafael Nadal struggles through in Australian Open

Defending Australian Open champion Rafael Nadal endured a nervy night on Rod Laver Arena before eventually fending off the persistent challenge of Philipp Kohlschreiber in four sets.

The Spanish second seed was below his best against the 27th-ranked German whose heavy hitting, especially off the backhand side, caused Nadal problems all night.

In the end Nadal simply took his opportunities better to win 6-4 6-2 2-6 7-5 in three hours and 39 minutes.

The left-hander will play big-serving Ivo Karlovic in the next round after the Croatian defeated countryman and 24th seed Ivan Ljubicic.

Kohlschreiber defeated two left-handers, Horacio Zeballos and Wayne Odesnik, en route to the third round and while he lost the opening two sets against Nadal he fully tested his more-fancied opponent.

Nadal grabbed an early break of serve in the opening set which proved decisive, although he had to fend off seven break points to stay ahead and clinch it in an hour and three minutes.

Nadal broke immediately in the second set, coming back from 40-love down, to get his nose in front.

The set followed a similar pattern to the first with Kohlschreiber probing away at the Nadal serve but proving unable to convert his break-point opportunities.

The German's doggedness was finally rewarded in the third set.

Nadal struggled with his first serve and Kohlschreiber pounced with some impressive winners as the defending champion grew increasingly tetchy.

The seven-time grand slam winner was twice broken and continually looked to his courtside entourage for inspiration as he lost the set.

Kohlschreiber sensed an upset was possible and matched Nadal from the baseline as the match developed into a dogfight.

Nadal looked like he had taken the edge with a couple of wonderful forehand passing shots to break, which finally brought him to life with a double fist-pump celebration.

But again Kohlschreiber battled back to immediately break back and square the set at 4-4.

An untimely poor service game at 5-5 cost Kohlschreiber as he three times sent wild forehands wide and was again broken.

Nadal did not squander the chance this time as he served out the match, with a cross-court winner sealing his passage to the last 16.

peoplePaper attempts to defend itself
voicesWe desperately need men to be feminists too
Life and Style
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
British actor Idris Elba is also a DJ and rapper who played Ibiza last summer
Life and Style
Mike Tyson has led an appalling and sad life, but are we not a country that gives second chances?
peopleFormer boxer 'watched over' crash victim until ambulance arrived
Arts and Entertainment
Geena Davis, founder and chair of the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media
Alan Bennett criticised the lack of fairness in British society encapsulated by the private school system
peopleBut he does like Stewart Lee
John Terry, Frank Lampard
footballChelsea captain sends signed shirt to fan whose mum had died
Arts and Entertainment
Rita Ora will replace Kylie Minogue as a judge on The Voice 2015
Life and Style
Life and Style
Alan Turing, who was convicted of gross indecency in 1952, was granted a royal pardon last year
Arts and Entertainment
Sheridan Smith as Cilla Black and Ed Stoppard as her manager Brian Epstein
tvCilla Episode 2 review: Grit under the glamour in part two of biopic series starring Sheridan Smith
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Secret politics of the weekly shop

The politics of the weekly shop

New app reveals political leanings of food companies
Beam me up, Scottie!

Beam me up, Scottie!

Celebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
Beware Wet Paint: The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition

Beware Wet Paint

The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition
Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Can 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition?
Sanctuary for the suicidal

Sanctuary for the suicidal

One mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits