MELBOURNE: Rafa Nadal eased past Italian 16th seed Fabio Fognini 6-3 6-4 6-2 to reach his 13th Australian Open quarter-final yesterday.
The Spanish second seed, who is chasing a record 21st Grand Slam title, held steady against the fierce hitting of Fognini and counter-punched brilliantly.
He set up a quarter-final meeting with Greek fifth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas, who advanced to the last eight after ninth seed Matteo Berrettini withdrew due to an abdominal strain.
Daniil Medvedev brushed aside Mackenzie McDonald 6-4 6-2 6-3 to extend his winning streak to 18 matches and set up an all-Russian quarter-final with Andrey Rublev, who was gifted a place in the last eight after Norway’s Casper Ruud retired injured.
The Norwegian received treatment for an abdominal injury early in the second set.
Medvedev sent down seven aces, 29 winners and made just 15 unforced errors as he wrapped up the one-sided contest in 90 minutes.
Medvedev and Rublev join Russian qualifier Aslan Karatsev in the quarter-finals, making it the first time in the Open era that three Russian men have reached the quarter-finals in the same Grand Slam.
Top-ranked Ash Barty sealed a dominant 6-3 6-4 victory over American Shelby Rogers to reach at least the quarter-finals for the third year in a row.
She will face 25th seed Karolina Muchova in the last eight after the Czech beat Belgium’s Elise Mertens 7-6(5) 7-5.
Jessica Pegula continued her dream run in Melbourne with a 6-4 3-6 6-3 win over Ukrainian fifth seed Elina Svitolina to set up an all-American quarter-final against Jennifer Brady, who beat Croatia’s Donna Vekic 6-1 7-5.
Brady sent down nine aces and won 85% of her first-serve points in a dominant performance against Vekic, who had heavy strapping on her right leg.
Play got underway as scheduled on the third day of Victoria’s snap five-day coronavirus lockdown, which has resulted in fans being shut out of Melbourne Park.
One new locally acquired case of COVID-19 was reported in the state in the 24 hours to Monday morning.