Tennis: Rafael Nadal saves match point, recovers to win at Indian Wells

Rafael Nadal of Spain reacts after defeating Alexander Zverev of Germany, on March 16, 2016.
Rafael Nadal of Spain reacts after defeating Alexander Zverev of Germany, on March 16, 2016.PHOTO: AFP

INDIAN WELLS (Reuters) - Rafael Nadal nearly followed Stan Wawrinka out of the BNP Paribas Open in California on Wednesday, but pulled off a Houdini-like escape to reach the last eight.

The fourth seed, three times a champion at Indian Wells, came from 5-2 down in the final set and saved a match point before battling past 18-year-old German prospect Alexandr Zverev 6-7 (8-10), 6-0, 7-5.

The power-hitting Zverev had been bidding to become the youngest quarter-finalist at the event since 1989 and led 40-30 when serving for the match but his nerve deserted him at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden.

The German, rated by Nadal as "a possible future No. 1", netted a forehand for deuce, then netted another for break point before dumping a third into the net to be broken.

Nadal then won the last five games to reach the quarter-finals, where he will face fifth-seeded Japanese Kei Nishikori, who beat American John Isner 1-6, 7-6 (7-2), 7-6 (7-5).

World No.1 Novak Djokovic had a far more comfortable time in winning his fourth-round tie, as he defeated Feliciano Lopez 6-3, 6-3. The Serb will next face either Dominic Thiem or Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.

Also advancing into the last eight was Canadian Milos Raonic, the 12th seed, who overpowered sixth-seeded Czech Tomas Berdych 6-4, 7-6 (9-7).