Rafael Nadal sealed his place in the quarter-finals of the Monte Carlo Masters with a hard-fought straight-sets victory over Dominic Thiem on Thursday.
The 14-time grand-slam champion impressed in a second-round win against Aljaz Bedene on Wednesday and showed his class on clay once again to see off Thiem 7-5 6-3 and set up a last-eight encounter with French Open champion Stan Wawrinka, a victor in Monte Carlo in 2014.
Fifth seed Nadal was beaten by Thiem in the semi-finals of the Argentina Open two months ago, but fended off 15 break points in the first set before gaining revenge to stay in the hunt for a ninth title in the principality.
The 'King of Clay' wore down his opponent with some powerful shots from the baseline, demonstrating his battling qualities to fight back from 3-1 down in an opening set in which Thiem had numerous chances to take charge but Nadal stood firm time and time again.
Nadal ensured there was no need for a tie-break when he broke for a second time to take a testing opener, then also came back from a break down in the second to go through.
World number 14 Thiem put Nadal on the back foot when he broke to love to lead 2-1, but the Spaniard was strong in defence and penetrative in attack as he broke back twice to advance.