Rotterdam, Netherlands:Top-ranked Rafael Nadal was pushed hard by 17-year-old junior champion Grigor Dimitrov in prevailing 7-5, 3-6, 6-2 to reach the ABN Amro quarterfinals on Thursday.
Dimitrov showed he wasn't nervous or intimidated when the 478th-ranked wild card from Bulgaria broke Nadal for 4-4, only to lose his serve again at 5-5 as Nadal won the first set.
Last year's Wimbledon and U.S. Open junior champ broke Nadal at 4-3 in the second and held on to force a decider.
There, Nadal's experience told, as he saved two break points and finally won after 2 hours, 26 minutes, as Dimitrov suffered leg cramps.
"He will certainly be a great player and for sure reach the top 10," Nadal said.
Seventh-seeded Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, last week's champion in Johannesburg, waits for Nadal after the Frenchman beat Dmitry Tursunov of Russia 7-6 (6), 6-2.
Also in the second round, second-seeded Andy Murray beat Andreas Seppi of Italy 7-6 (4) 7-5, and fifth-seeded Gael Monfils ousted defending champion Michael Llodra 6-4, 6-4.
Murray fought back from a 3-1 deficit in the second set, claiming the decisive break at 5-5 over Seppi, who beat Nadal in last year's event. Next up for Murray will be lucky loser Marc Gicquel of France, who has taken advantage as a late replacement for injured 2008 finalist Robin Soderling by beating countryman Paul-Henri Mathieu 6-4, 6-3.
Monfils' win over Llodra set up another all-French match with Julien Benneteau.
"It's interesting that French players have done so well in Rotterdam in recent years," Monfils said. "We like it here."
However, fourth-seeded Frenchman Gilles Simon lost to Mario Ancic of Croatia 6-4, 3-6, 6-3.
A single service break decided each set, as Ancic avenged his third-round loss to the Frenchman in the Australian Open.
"You know you have to fight for every point against Simon," Ancic said. "Sometimes you have to be patient and I managed that today."
Ancic, coming off last Sunday's final in Zagreb, next meets Mikhail Youzhny of Russia.