The Spaniard is bidding to break the record for most men’s grand slam singles titles, a landmark he currently shares with Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic.
Nadal is now just two matches away from that elusive 21st grand slam title and will face either Matteo Berrettini or Gael Monfils in the semifinals.
There were questions over Nadal’s fitness going into 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 Tuesay he was ready for the fight.
His tussle with Shapovalov lasted more than four hours and Nadal had to contend with a stomach problem, an issue that required medication during the match.
“I started to feel not very well in my stomach so I asked for something, they took the tension, checked everything was all right in my body and some tablets to try and improve my stomach,” Nadal said after the match.
“I am not 21 anymore … after this match it is great to have two days off. I felt quite good physically in terms of movement but the conditions haven’t been that hot.”
‘I was completely destroyed’
Nadal had raced into 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 had been fired up earlier in the match after appearing to take issue with how long Nadal was taking between points.
His frustration finally got too much in the second set and he snapped at the chair umpire, shouting: “You guys are 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 get over the line.
A wide grin spread across Nadal’s face after Shapovalov saw his attempted volley go out at match point, while the Canadian took his final frustration out on his racket.
“I don’t know, honestly,” Nadal said when he was asked how he won the match. “I was completely destroyed after that. Very tough day, very warm.
“Honestly, I didn’t practice for this. I was a little lucky at the beginning of the fifth. At the beginning of the match I was playing great, then I know how difficult it is to play against a player like Denis.
“He’s very talented, very aggressive. He was serving huge, especially the second serve.”
Both men’s semifinals will be played on Friday this year which means Nadal will have plenty of time to rest and recover from yet another thriller in Melbourne.