By Ian Ransom
MELBOURNE (Reuters) - Rafa Nadal returned to the grand slam big-time by fending off Gael Monfils 6-3 6-3 4-6 6-4 in a tense clash on Monday to reach the Australian Open quarter-finals.
Former champion Nadal had not reached the last eight in a major since the 2015 French Open, so he celebrated wildly after closing out the two-hour 56-minute clash at a packed Rod Laver Arena.
It was not the most convincing of wins for the 30-year-old Spaniard, who was rattled when Monfils rallied in the fourth set, but the 14-times grand slam champion was clinical when it counted to keep his pursuit of a 15th major title alive.
Nadal will meet third seed Milos Raonic for a place in the semi-finals.
(Editing by Ed Osmond)