MELBOURNE, Australia -- Rafael Nadal finally got the better of a long tiebreaker and knew he'd won half the battle.
After saving four set points and missing with the first six of his own, Nadal finally clinched a tiebreaker that lasted 28 minutes and 40 seconds to set himself on course to secure a spot in the Australian Open quarterfinals for a 14th time.
After his 7-6 (14), 6-2, 6-2 fourth-round victory over fellow left-hander Adrian Mannarino on Sunday, Nadal is potentially just three wins away from a men's record 21st Grand Slam singles title.
He later reflected on a tiebreaker where momentum swung wildly; where chants of "Let's go, Rafa, let's go!" rang out; where a point was decided on a 25-shot rally with both players scrambling at full stretch; and that ended only when Nadal volleyed from deep in the court and Mannarino's reflex reply skewed wide.
"Well, you know, I played a couple," he said, smiling, in reference to long tiebreakers. "But, yeah, [it was] a crazy one, chances for both. And, yeah, lucky to win that tiebreak at the end, no?
"Half of the match in the tiebreak, without a doubt."
Nadal will next play Denis Shapovalov, the 22-year-old Canadian who finished off a 6-3, 7-6 (5), 6-3 win over Olympic gold medalist Alexander Zverev on Margaret Court Arena less than an hour later to reach the last eight in Australia for the first time.
Shapovalov had to isolate after testing positive for COVID-19 when he arrived in Australia ahead of the year's first major, but he recovered quickly to help Canada win the ATP Cup in Sydney and now reach a Grand Slam quarterfinal for the third time.
The seventh-seeded Berrettini has now reached the quarterfinals at all four of the tennis majors and will next play No. 17 Gael Monfils, who beat Miomir Kecmanovic 7-5, 7-6 (4), 6-3. Monfils, 35, made it to the last eight for the second time in 17 trips to Melbourne Park.
Nadal, in his 17th campaign in Australia, is now tied with John Newcombe in second spot on the career list for most Australian Open quarterfinals, one behind Roger Federer's 15.
It's also his 45th time into the last eight at a Grand Slam tournament, which is third all time behind Federer (58) and Novak Djokovic (51).
Nadal, 35, shares the men's record of 20 major titles with Federer and Djokovic. But he's the only one of the trio playing in this tournament. Nine-time Australian Open champion Djokovic was deported on the eve of the tournament because he didn't meet Australia's strict COVID-19 vaccination rules. Federer is recovering from injury.
Mannarino, 33, who didn't finish his 4-hour, 38-minute four-set, third-round win over No. 18 Aslan Karatsev until after 2 a.m. on Saturday, appeared to be hampered by an abdominal or upper leg injury. He threw everything at Nadal in the opening set on Rod Laver Arena, where temperatures approached 33 Celsius (91 F).
"After first set I couldn't really fight against Rafa," said the No. 69-ranked Mannarino. "You know, he was playing too well for me not to be 100 percent. The second and third set just went all the way for Rafa, so that's it."
The first set lasted 85 minutes, including the tiebreaker, but after Nadal's early breaks in the second and third sets, the match was over in 2 hours, 40 minutes.
"I'm very happy I survived that first set, without a doubt," said the sixth-seeded Nadal, who saved one of the only two breakpoint chances he faced, and converted five of 17. "That crazy first set was so important."
The No. 14-seeded Shapovalov spent almost 11 hours on court through the first three rounds, winning twice in four sets and once in five, and was surprised by the relative speed of his 2-hour, 21-minute win over Zverev.
"Definitely happy with where the game is at," he said. "I played pretty smart today."
Shapovalov reached the US Open quarterfinals in 2020 and was a semifinalist at Wimbledon last year, his career-best run to date at a major. He'll have to step it up against one of the greatest in the game.
"It's always an honor to go up against a guy like Rafa," Shapovalov said. "It's always fun. Always going to be a battle against him."