BBC : US Open 2018: Rafael Nadal beats Karen Khachanov to reach fourth round

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By Jonathan Jurejko

BBC Sport at Flushing Meadows

Rafael Nadal has already won one Grand Slam title this year after triumphing at the French Open
2018 US Open
Venue: Flushing Meadows, New York Dates: 27 August-9 September Coverage: Live radio coverage on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra; live text commentaries on the BBC Sport website

Defending champion Rafael Nadal dug deep to outmanoeuvre powerful Russian Karen Khachanov and win their thrilling US Open third-round match in four sets.

Nadal, 32, was a set and a break down before fighting back to win 5-7 7-5 7-6 (9-7) 7-6 (7-3).

The Spanish top seed failed to serve out the match at 5-4 in the fourth, but recovered to take the tie-break.

World number one Nadal will play Georgia's Nikoloz Basilashvili in the last 16.

The 17-time Grand Slam champion, aiming for a fourth US Open title, needed all of his enormous will-to-win and tactical nous to see off Khachanov, who hit 22 aces and 66 winners.

The match ebbed and flowed throughout as it became one of the matches of the tournament so far.

It was Nadal's first real test after not dropping a set in his previous two matches at Flushing Meadows.

Nervous Nadal gets over the line

Nadal had breezed into the third round after David Ferrer, his close friend and Davis Cup colleague, retired injured in the opening round and Canada's Vasek Pospisil was swatted off in three sets on Wednesday.

This time he was pushed all the way by 22-year-old Khachanov, who showed why he is considered one of the game's rising stars.

After Nadal moved into a two-sets-to-one lead, the world number 26 may have been expected to fade.

Yet he showed remarkable resolve to stop Nadal serving out at 5-4 and take the fourth set to a tie-break.

From there, Nadal regained control - although not before missing two of his five set points - to clinch victory in four hours 23 minutes.

Bending his knees, raising his arms and roaring into the air, Nadal's relief was evident in his exuberant celebration.

More to follow.

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