Nadal into QFs after trumping Wawrinka in scintillating clash

It was a masterclass in Toronto, where Rafael Nadal came out on top 7-5, 7-6 (7-4) after more than two hours of scintillating tennis.

World number one Rafael Nadal   -  Getty Images

Top seed Rafael Nadal won through to the ATP Rogers Cup quarterfinals after prevailing against Stan Wawrinka in a high-quality encounter on Thursday.

It was a masterclass in Toronto, where world number one Nadal came out on top 7-5, 7-6 (7-4) after more than two hours of scintillating tennis.

Nadal had to dig deep in a contest that left Canadian fans on their feet as the 17-time Grand Slam champion advanced to face Australian Open finalist and sixth seed Marin Cilic.

READ: Teenager Tsitsipas stuns Djokovic in Toronto

Wawrinka has struggled this season following a second knee operation, but the three-time major winner was back to his brilliant best against Nadal.

It was a slow start for Wawrinka, who looked to be enjoying a straightforward opening service game until Nadal earned two break points, which were emphatically saved by the Swiss.

Nadal did not face a break point until the ninth game when he fell 0-40 behind at 4-4, though the Spanish star rallied to fend off all three.

ALSO READ: Top tennis stars skip Asian Games

That triggered a run from Nadal, who had two opportunities to close out the first set before rain delayed play for 46 minutes.

Returning to serve for the set at 6-5, Nadal producing a stunning display of tennis to draw first blood against the shell-shocked Wawrinka.

Nadal looked set to run away with the match as he reeled off four successive games for a 2-0 advantage, only for Wawrinka to break back with a trademark backhand down the line. Wawrinka, then, enjoyed a run of his own, winning four games in succession to move 4-2 ahead in a red-hot display.

And, Wawrinka had the opportunity to force a deciding set at 5-4 but Nadal broke back – an extraordinary forehand winner sparking a wild celebration and providing the latter with the chance he needed to triumph.