World number one Rafa Nadal withstood a barrage of power serving by Croat Ivo Karlovic to reach the semi-finals of the Indian Wells ATP tournament with a thrilling 5-7 6-1 7-6 victory on Thursday.
The Spanish left-hander, champion here in 2007 and 2009, ended a tightly balanced match on the showpiece stadium court by winning the third set tiebreak 9-7 when a Karlovic forehand floated long.
Nadal had earned his third match point of the night with a sublime inside-out forehand crosscourt winner and the crowd erupted with deafening roars when he converted it moments later to seal victory in two hours 23 minutes.
He collapsed to the ground in delight and will next meet Argentine Juan Martin del Potro, who was gifted a place in the last four when Spaniard Tommy Robredo pulled out of their match earlier in the day with a strained left abductor muscle.
"That was very tight," a beaming Nadal said courtside after beating the six-foot 10-inch (2.08 metre) Karlovic for a fourth time in four career meetings.
"For sure, it was an unbelievably difficult match. I love this court and the fans here are unbelievable."
Please double-click on the newslink:
for more tennis stories
for more sports stories