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).