Live Commentary: Rafael Nadal vs. Grigor Dimitrov - as it happened

Live Commentary: Nadal vs. Dimitrov - as it happened
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Sports Mole provides live text coverage of the Australian Open quarter-final between world number one Rafael Nadal and Bulgaria's Grigor Dimitrov.

Rafael Nadal took on Bulgaria's Grigor Dimitrov in the penultimate men's singles quarter-final at the 2014 Australian Open on day 10.

World number one Nadal had yet to drop a single set in Melbourne this year, but 22nd seed Dimitrov rightly fancied his chances of ending the Spaniard's run of extreme dominance.

The pair had met on three previous occasions and, although Nadal had won all three, he had never beaten the Bulgarian in straight sets.

Would Nadal reach his fourth Australian Open semi-final, or would Dimitrov progress to the last four of a Grand Slam for the first time ever?

Find out how the action unfolded below with Sports Mole's blow-by-blow text updates.


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3.28amHello! Thanks for joining Sports Mole on day 10 of the 2014 Australian Open.

3.30amNadal vs. Dimitrov is not the only match at Melbourne Park today. Dominika Cibulkova booked her place in the women’s semis earlier, beating Simona Halep 6-3 6-0. Victoria Azarenka and Agnieszka Radwanska are currently in a deciding set. And, as if you needed reminding, later on British number one Andy Murray will go up against 17-time Grand Slam winner Roger Federer.

3.32amRadwanska leads defending champion Azarenka 4-0 in the deciding set. If the Polish number one holds on to win she will complete yet another surprise result in what has been a tournament full of shocks. Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova are already out of the women’s draw. Meanwhile, second seed Novak Djokovic exited the men’s event yesterday with a five-set defeat to Stanislas Wawrinka.

3.32amNovak's loss to Stan the Man has left Nadal as the bookmakers' favourite in the men’s draw, but, as we have already seen, that means nothing!

3.36amRESULT! Defending women's champion Victoria Azarenka is out after being beaten 6-1 5-7 6-0 by Agnieszka Radwanska.

3.37amNow that match is done, Nadal and Dimitrov should be on court within the next 15 minutes.

3.42amNadal should be slightly fresher than his opponent. The Spaniard has contested just 10 sets during the opening four rounds. He was 6-4 up against Bernard Tomic in round one before the Aussie youngster retired hurt. He then cruised past another local favourite, beating wildcard Thanasi Kokkinakis 6-2 6-4 6-2, before seeing off 25th seed Gael Monfils 6-1 6-2 6-3. In the last round, Nadal really was tested by Japan's Kei Nishikori, but he was still able to prevail 7-6 7-5 7-6.

3.47amMeanwhile, Dimitrov, who prior to this year had never gone beyond round three in a Slam, has been taken to four sets on three occasions in this tournament so far. After beating America's Bradley Klahn 6-7 6-4 6-4 6-3, the 22-year-old overcame Yen-Hsun Lu 6-3 6-3 7-6 and Milos Raonic 6-3 3-6 6-4 7-6. He then dispatched Roberto Bautista-Agut 6-3 3-6 6-2 6-4.

3.50amThe players enter court to a warm reception. The weather is fairly warm too. However, it's nothing to compared to the temperatures that were experienced earlier in the tournament. The on-court thermometer currently reads 21°C.

3.53amNadal wins the toss and elects to receive first.

3.54amDimitrov's serve has been pretty reliable in Melbourne this year. He has faced just 13 break points so far, saving eight of them.

3.59amBoth players are in pretty good health, but Nadal is managing a tricky blister on the palm of his hand. Will that play a part? Let's see. Chair umpire Carlos Bernandes has called time, this match is just seconds away from starting.

Nadal 0-0* DimitrovThe big Bulgarian kicks off with a massive ace down the tee. 15-0.

Nadal *0-1 DimitrovImpressive start by Dimitrov. He wins a 12-stroke rally behind his second serve to move 30-0 in front before Nadal fails to return another huge first serve. The Spaniard then cracks a forehand winner, but a second ace from Dimitrov seals a confident hold to 15.

Nadal *0-1 DimitrovContrasting start by Nadal, who delivers a double fault. 0-15.

Nadal *0-1 DimitrovCrosscourt forehand winner from Dimitrov. 0-30.

Nadal *0-1 DimitrovBREAK POINT! Nadal battles back to 30-30, but Dimitrov wins the next point courtesy of a brilliant pick up and volley at the net. 30-40.

Nadal 0-2* DimitrovBREAK! Nadal shanks a mis-hit forehand long and Dimitrov breaks to 30. What a start!

Nadal *0-3 DimitrovGame three is all about Dimitrov, as he hits two aces, an unreturnable 219kph serve and a double fault en route to holding to 30.

Nadal *0-3 DimitrovRafa wins two points behind his spinning second serve to move 30-0 ahead.

Nadal 1-3* DimitrovThe Spaniard gets on the scoreboard with a comfortable hold to love.

Nadal *1-4 DimitrovNadal targets Dimitrov's backhand and is rewarded as a couple of errors take game five to deuce. However, the Bulgarian then comes good with a backhand slice that bamboozles the Spaniard. That shot brings up game point, which is converted when Rafa fails to return a huge forehand down the line.

Nadal 2-4* DimitrovRafa delivers his first ace of the match, before quickly earning his second love service game in a row.

Nadal *2-5 DimitrovSuperb response from Dimitrov, who records his first love hold of the day, hitting two aces in the process. The Bulgarian has won 100% (13/13) of points behind his first serve so far.

Nadal 3-5* DimitrovNadal holds to 15. Dimitrov will now serve for the first set. How will he cope with the pressure?

Nadal 3-5* DimitrovThe Bulgarian starts game nine with his second double fault of the match. 0-15.

Nadal 3-5* DimitrovRafa is awake! He cracks a sweet forehand winner and it's now 0-30.

Nadal 3-6 *0-0 DimitrovFIRST SET DIMITROV! The 22nd seed reels off four straight points to get out of danger and become the first person to take a Grand Slam set from Nadal in 2014. A nerveless overhead smash made it 15-30, before two aces and a service winner wrapped up a crucial hold to 30.

4.37amDimitrov is revelling in the ultra-fast conditions on Rod Laver Arena. He hit eight aces, 14 winners and just seven unforced errors during that 32-minute opening set. Meanwhile, Nadal made two aces, eight winners and five unforced errors.

Nadal 3-6 1-0* DimitrovNadal gets the second set off the a flyer by holding to love. That game means that both players have now won 26 points so far today. Dimitrov has won the more important ones though!

Nadal 3-6 1-0* DimitrovTWO BREAK POINTS! Dimitrov loses three consecutive service points courtesy of errors. Nadal has his first break points of the match. 15-40.

Nadal 3-6 *2-0 DimitrovBREAK! A deep first serve saves the first break point, but Nadal converts the second with a marvellous forehand winner.

Nadal 3-6 *2-0 DimitrovHow rare! Nadal double-faults twice in the opening three points of game 12. Dimitrov leads 15-30.

Nadal 3-6 2-1* DimitrovBREAK! This is unheard of! The players exchange unforced errors before Nadal produces a THIRD DOUBLE FAULT OF THE GAME to hand Dimitrov an immediate break back.

Nadal 3-6 *2-2 DimitrovTwo more aces from Dimitrov - his ninth and tenth of the match - help him hold to love. The second set is now level once again and Nadal looks rattled!

Nadal 3-6 *2-2 DimitrovWe have just had the match's first big first pump and it's Dimitrov's fists that are doing the pumping. The Bulgarian comes out on top on in a pulsating 14-shot exchange to level the game at 30-30. More pressure on Nadal's serve...

Nadal 3-6 *2-2 DimitrovAt deuce, Rafa volleys a forehand winner to earn game point. The Spaniard then ups the stakes by blowing Dimitrov's first pump out of the water with a Tarzan-like chest beat and scream combo!

Nadal 3-6 3-2* DimitrovA 29-shot rally ends when Dimitrov hits a forehand into the net. Rafa holds to 40. No big celebration on this occasion.

Nadal 3-6 3-2* DimitrovNadal gets 0-30 ahead before Dimitrov reels off three straight points to reach game point. However, two loose forehands then hand the Spaniard BREAK POINT!

Nadal 3-6 *3-3 DimitrovBreak point is saved as Dimitrov stays positive and pressurises Nadal into missing a tricky backhand. Two more forced errors from the Spaniard follow as Dimitrov levels the set at 3-3.

Nadal 3-6 4-3* DimitrovSome uncharacteristic errors from Nadal get him into a hole at 15-30, but he digs himself to safety with some much improved ball striking, eventually holding to 30 thanks to a trademark forehand topspin winner.

Nadal 3-6 4-3* DimitrovBrilliant from Dimitrov! And more deserved fist pumping! He falls 0-30 behind, but, after a Nadal miss closes the gap to 15-30, the Bulgarian levels the game by winning a stunning 19-shot point. He hits four consecutive forehands that land plum on the line, but Rafa defends brilliantly to keep the point alive. Dimitrov then throws in a backhand slice to draw his opponent in, before slamming an excellent crosscourt forehand winner.

Nadal 3-6 *4-4 DimitrovThat maverick point seems to have given Dimitrov a huge confidence boost. He holds to 30.

Nadal 3-6 5-4* DimitrovNadal holds to love for the fourth time today. Dimitrov must now serve to stay in the second set.

Nadal 3-6 *5-5 DimitrovNo problem for Dimitrov, who takes little over a minute to hold to 15.

Nadal 3-6 *5-5 DimitrovThe crowd love a bit of Hawk Eye, but Dimitrov doesn't seen so keen on it as the technology shows a dipping Nadal forehand catching the sideline by the tiniest of margins. 15-0.

Nadal 3-6 6-5* DimitrovNadal goes on to hold to love again. In the three previous meetings between these players (nine sets), there has not a single tie-break. Dimitrov will hope to change that now as, for the second time, he serves to stay in set two.

Nadal 3-6 6-6 DimitrovThe Bulgarian holds to 15 and we are heading for a breaker. Nadal won 18 of 25 tie-breaks last year, while Dimitrov won just nine of 22.

Second-set tie breakNadal wins the opening point of the breaker with serve. 1-0.

Second-set tie breakDimitrov double fault. 2-0 to Rafa.

Second-set tie breakA forehand winner sees Dimitrov get on the board. He's now 1-2 down.

Second-set tie breakNadal wins two quick points behind his first serve. 4-1.

Second-set tie breakDimitrov's 12th ace of the match keeps him in with a sniff. 2-4.

Second-set tie breakA surprising error from Nadal's backhand reduces his lead to 4-3. He's still a mini-break ahead though.

Second-set tie breakBrilliant serve and volley from Nadal. 5-3.

Second-set tie breakA crisp forehand winner down the line hands Nadal a 6-3 lead and THREE SET POINTS!

Nadal 3-6 7-6 DimitrovSECOND SET NADAL! Rafa levels the match with a dinked backhand winner at the net. He takes the tie-break 7-3.

5.32amNadal was far from at his best at times in that set, but he's come through it. The Spaniard didn't hit an ace, but produced three double faults. He made 10 winners and 13 unforced errors. Meanwhile, Dimitrov came up with four aces, two double faults, 13 winners and 19 unforced errors.

Nadal 3-6 7-6 *0-1 DimitrovDimitrov really needs to hold serve at the start of set three to stop Rafa getting on a roll. And he does hold - to 30.

Nadal 3-6 7-6 1-1* DimitrovRafa's hitting well now. He holds to 15.

Nadal 3-6 7-6 *1-2 DimitrovRafa fights back from 15-40 to level at deuce, but the Spaniard then produces an untimely mis-hit forehand, giving his opponent a third game point, which is converted thanks to a booming crosscourt forehand. That was Dimitrov's 21st winner of the match.

Nadal 3-6 7-6 *1-2 DimitrovBREAK POINT! Nadal cruises into a 30-0 lead, but loses the next three points by driving into the net. Dimitrov has the first break point of the third set. He is two from two in the match so far.

Nadal 3-6 7-6 2-2* DimitrovBreak point is saved as Dimitrov swings and misses with the forehand. Nadal then hits his third ace, before sealing the hold with a backhand winner.

Nadal 3-6 7-6 2-2* DimitrovDimitrov double-faults and makes two unforced errors from 15-0, handing Nadal TWO BREAK POINTS!

Nadal 3-6 7-6 *3-2 DimitrovBREAK! Nadal fails to convert his first break point as he hits an unforced backhand error. However, Dimitrov then follows suit, meaning that, for the first time in the match, the world number one is ahead.

6.09amNadal has a little bit of work done on his hand to manage his blister problem during the change of ends. There isn't too much wincing. He seems to be coping pretty well.

Nadal 3-6 7-6 4-2* DimitrovRafa throws in his fifth double fault of the match, but manages to hold to 30 nevertheless.

Nadal 3-6 7-6 *4-3 DimitrovA first ace of the third set for Dimitrov seals the Bulgarian a hold to 15. He is still in this...

Nadal 3-6 7-6 *4-3 DimitrovHe is definitely still in this... Two unforced errors from Nadal give Dimitrov a sniff of a break back. 0-30.

Nadal 3-6 7-6 *4-3 DimitrovNadal's third unforced error of the game hands Dimitrov TWO BREAK POINTS! The Bulgarian hasn't done much to earn them. Gifts.

Nadal 3-6 7-6 4-4* DimitrovBREAK! Nadal saves the first break point with ripping backhand volley at the net, but he then surrenders the game by double-faulting for the sixth time today.

Nadal 3-6 7-6 *4-5 DimitrovWhat a turnaround! Dimitrov secures a confident hold to love and, all of a sudden, Rafa must now serve to stay in the third set.

Nadal 3-6 7-6 5-5* DimitrovNo dramas from Nadal this time around. The Spaniard holds with his sixth love service game of the match.

Nadal 3-6 7-6 5-5* DimitrovAfter kicking off the game with a successful serve and volley, Dimitrov has now now won eight successive service points. 15-0.

Nadal 3-6 7-6 5-5* DimitrovA brilliant drop volley at the net from Nadal levels the game at 30-30. The top seed has now won 21 of 25 points at the net.

Nadal 3-6 7-6 *5-6 DimitrovDimitrov hangs on to an important service game, holding to 30. Can he break again and clinch the third set, or are we destined for another tie-break?

Nadal 3-6 7-6 *5-6 DimitrovNadal is forced out wide and the Spaniard can only find the middle of the net with a backhand. 0-15.

Nadal 3-6 7-6 *5-6 DimitrovAn excellent forehand and a sliced backhand volley at the net put Nadal 30-15 ahead.

Nadal 3-6 7-6 *5-6 DimitrovNadal lands a decent first serve, but Dimitrov reads it perfectly and thunders back a crosscourt backhand winner. 30-30.

Nadal 3-6 7-6 *5-6 DimitrovSET POINT! Nadal looks in total control of the rally when he comes to the net, but he then shanks one of the worst forehands he has ever hit, handing Dimitrov a set point at 30-40.

Nadal 3-6 7-6 *5-6 DimitrovSET POINT SAVED! More shaking, this time from Dimitrov, who skies a forehand return high into the stands. 40-40.

Nadal 3-6 7-6 6-6 DimitrovNadal holds to 40. We are heading for another breaker!

Third-set tie breakDimitrov fails to find a first serve, but he manages to win the point behind his second with a lovely forehand winner. 1-0.

Third-set tie breakUnusually, Nadal speeds through his two service points, winning both of them. 2-1.

Third-set tie breakA brilliant hotdog lob from Dimitrov delights the crowd, but Nadal eventually prevails in a dramatic rally. The Spaniard gets the MINI BREAK! 3-1.

Third-set tie breakUnforced backhand error from Nadal, who now leads 3-2.

Third-set tie breakNadal wins an energy-sapping 27-shot point. He takes a 4-2 lead into the change of ends.

Third-set tie breakAn unforced forehand error from Nadal sees his MINI BREAK! disappear. 4-3.

Third-set tie breakThe Spaniard gets the MINI BREAK! back straight away though. 5-3.

Third-set tie breakAnother MINI BREAK helps Dimitrov level at 5-5. Tense!

Third-set tie breakA forehand unforced error from Nadal hands Dimitrov another SET POINT and it's on the Bulgarian's serve too! 6-5.

Third-set tie breakSAVED! Dimitrov sets the point up well, but he fires a forehand wide. 6-6.

Third-set tie breakA brilliant backhand volley winner from Dimitrov gives him a third SET POINT - this one will be on Nadal's serve though.

Third-set tie breakSAVED! A sweet forehand winner from Nadal levels the breaker at 7-7.

Third-set tie breakA poor forehand miss from Dimitrov hands Nadal his first SET POINT in the third. 8-7.

6.54amTHIRD SET NADAL! The Bulgarian's forehand misfires again and, after saving three set points, Rafa converts his first! He takes a competitive tie-break 9-7.

6.56amBoth players made more unforced errors than winners in set three. Nadal: 17-22. Dimitrov: 14-16.

6.57amNadal is again re-taping his blister-affected hand. He will serve first in the fourth set when he is done.


Nadal 3-6 7-6 7-6 1-0* DimitrovBREAK POINT! Dimitrov battles back from 0-15 and 15-30 to force deuce, but Nadal gets his nose in front again with a brilliant backhand pass.

NNadal 3-6 7-6 7-6 1-0* DimitrovSAVED! Dimitrov nails a forehand volley and it's back to deuce.

Nadal 3-6 7-6 7-6 1-0* DimitrovDimitrov squanders three game points, before slicing a backhand into the net to provide Nadal with a second BREAK POINT of the game.

Nadal 3-6 7-6 7-6 *2-0 DimitrovBREAK! Nadal wins the 18th point of a 10-minute game by punching a backhand down the line, beyond Dimitrov, who had raced to the net.

Nadal 3-6 7-6 7-6 3-0* DimitrovNadal holds to 15. He leads 3-0 in the fourth and, after 193 minutes of play, the finish line is finally in sight for the world number one.

Nadal 3-6 7-6 7-6 *3-1 DimitrovA drop shot carrying extreme levels of backspin earns Dimitrov a round of applause from Nadal, as well as giving the 22nd seed a 40-15 lead. Dimitrov goes on to hold to 30.

Nadal 3-6 7-6 7-6 4-1* DimitrovNadal throws in a double fault to give Dimitrov a glimmer of hope at 40-30, but that hope is quickly extinguished as Rafa holds to 30.

Nadal 3-6 7-6 7-6 *4-2 DimitrovThe Bulgarian holds on to another service game, winning back-to-back points behind his second serve from 30-30.

Nadal 3-6 7-6 7-6 5-2* DimitrovNadal holds to love. Dimitrov is still throwing everything at the Spaniard, but the world number one seems well in control of proceedings now.

Nadal 3-6 7-6 7-6 5-2* DimitrovDimitrov will have nightmares about his forehand tonight! He missed a few horrible ones in the third-set tie-break and has just plundered another well wide when serving to stay in the match. 0-15.

Nadal 3-6 7-6 7-6 5-2* DimitrovMATCH POINT NADAL! 30-40.

Nadal 3-6 7-6 7-6 5-2* DimitrovSAVED! Dimitrov displays impressive resistance, tempting Nadal to take on a 'Hollywood' forehand down the line. The Spaniard can only find the bottom of the net. 40-40.

Nadal 3-6 7-6 7-6 5-2* DimitrovSECOND MATCH POINT NADAL! Dimitrov makes another forehand error.

Nadal 3-6 7-6 7-6 5-2* DimitrovSAVED! The Bulgarian's all-or-nothing forehand then cracks glorious winner. 40-40.

Nadal 3-6 7-6 7-6 6-2 DimitrovGAME SET AND MATCH NADAL! A third match point comes and goes before Nadal finally converts at the fourth attempt courtesy of a Dimitrov unforced forehand error.

7.41amThe world number one comes through in 217 minutes. He will play the winner of the upcoming clash between Andy Murray and Roger Federer.

7.44amNadal, speaking courtside to Jim Courier is full of praise for Dimitrov. He says: "He has everything to become great champion. I see lots of similarities with Roger [Federer] in his style. If he keeps playing this way, he will go to the very top."

7.47amOn winning the third-set tie-break after Dimitrov had squandered three set points, Nadal smiles and adds: "I was so lucky!"

7.52amRafa, who made seven double faults in the match, then goes on to add that his blistered hand made serving very tough, but that he hopes the wounds will improve during his rest day tomorrow.

7.56amFINAL MATCH STATISTICS

Total points won
Nadal: 147
Dimitrov: 132

Winners
Nadal: 42
Dimitrov: 54

Unforced errors
Nadal: 47
Dimitrov: 61

Net points
Nadal: 32/36 (89%)
Dimitrov: 28/41 (68%)

Aces
Nadal: 3
Dimitrov: 16

Double faults
Nadal: 7
Dimitrov: 5

Receiving points won
Nadal: 59/155 (38%)
Dimitrov: 36/124 (29%)


8.30amSports Mole's live coverage of Nadal vs. Dimitrov has now ended, but click here to follow Murray vs. Federer.

Spain's Rafael Nadal celebrates after victory in his men's singles match against Japan's Kei Nishikori on day eight of the 2014 Australian Open tennis tournament in Melbourne on January 20, 2014
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