Nadal is now just two games away from that elusive 21st Grand Slam title and will face Matteo Berrettini or Gael Monfils in the semi-finals.
There were questions about Nadal’s condition entering Melbourne after the 35-year-old struggled with injuries and a bout of Covid-19 last year, but the 20-time grand slam champion showed on Tuesday that he was ready for the fight.
His struggle with Shapovalov lasted more than four hours and Nadal struggled with a stomach problem, one that required medication during the match.
“I started to feel not so good in my stomach, so I asked for something. They took the tension, checked if everything was okay in my body and some tablets to try to improve my stomach,” Nadal said after the contest.
“I’m not 21 anymore … after this race it’s great to have two days off. I felt pretty good physically in terms of movement, but the conditions weren’t that hot.”
‘I was completely devastated’
Nadal had taken a two-set lead after an impressive start to the match, but his Canadian opponent forced a decider after finding his form just in time.
Shapovalov was sacked earlier in the game after disagreeing on how long Nadal was between points.
His frustration eventually grew in the second set and he snapped at the chair umpire and yelled, “You’re all corrupt.”
After forcing Nadal into a final set, Shapovalov seemed to run out of steam as the Spaniard used his wealth of experience to cross the line.
A wide grin appeared on Nadal’s face after Shapovalov saw his volley attempt go off at match point, as the Canadian vented his last frustration on his racket.
“I honestly don’t know,” Nadal said when asked how he won the match. “After that I was completely devastated. Very hard day, very hot.
“Honestly, I didn’t train for this. I was a bit lucky at the start of the fifth. At the beginning of the game I played great, then I know how difficult it is to play against a player like Denis.”
“He’s very talented, very aggressive. He served a lot, especially the second serve.”
Both men’s semi-finals will be played on Friday this year, meaning Nadal will have plenty of time to rest and recover from yet another thriller in Melbourne.