20 Mar 2009

Nadal saves 5 match points at Indian Wells

1:06 pm on 20 March 2009

World men's tennis number one Rafael Nadal saved five match points en route to a three set victory over David Nalbandian to reach the quarter-finals of the Indian Wells hardcourt tennis tournament in California.

Nalbandian's crushing forehand had the world No.1 on the ropes, but the Spaniard withstood the onslaught. He saved five match points, producing winners on four of them, to take the second set to the tiebreaker... he then cruised through the third set.

Nadal next faces another Argentinian, sixth-seeded Juan Martin del Potro.

Nadal's escape, against an opponent who had beaten him in two previous encounters back in 2007, meant that the "big four" of the men's tennis circuit - Nadal, Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray - all made it into the quarter-finals of the first Masters series event of the year.

In the women's draw top seeded Russian Dinara Safina lost her chance to become the world number one when she was beaten in 3 sets by Victoria Azarenka of Belarus in the quarter-finals.