Australian Open: Rafael Nadal qualifies for quarter-finals, stays on track for record-breaking Grand Slam


The No.2 seed did not lose a set in its 6-3 6-4 6-2 victory over Italy’s No.16 seed to advance to the quarter-finals of the first Grand Slam of the ‘year.

The victory means Nadal, who won the tournament in 2009, qualified for his 13th Australian Open quarterfinal. It is also the 43rd time that he has passed to the last eight of a major.

“I played a good game when he broke me and was lucky to have the break immediately and save a Love-40 game so I was kind of lucky,” said Nadal to the media afterwards.

“It was humid and hot but the conditions are faster during the day and for me it is better to play during the day because I like the ball that flies but I have to adapt to all the conditions.

“I’m glad the back is holding up but [Tuesday] will be an important day for practice, ”he added, referring to the back injury that forced him to withdraw from the warm-up before the start of the Australian Open.

Despite entering the tournament with injury issues that overshadow his prospects in Melbourne, the Spaniard appears to be reaching his prime at the right time.

Nadal plays a backhand in his match against Fognini.

After being blitzed by Nadal’s quick start, Fognini struggled after falling into a one-set deficit and had three opportunities to carve out a 5-3 lead in the second set.

But Nadal, showing his pedigree and determination, halted the Italian’s progress, ultimately winning four straight games to clinch the second set.

Finishing the third set with relatively little difficulty, the 34-year-old set up a clash with Stefanos Tsitsipas, who secured a free pass through his fourth-round game after opponent Matteo Berrettini retired with tension. abdominal.

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Nadal (left) shakes hands with Fognini after their men's singles match.

Nadal is now three wins away from winning his 21st Grand Slam, improving the men’s record he currently shares with Roger Federer.

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