Rafael Nadal put his old rival Fabio Fognini to the sword to reach the Australian Open quarter-finals and move within three wins of the all-time Grand Slam titles record on Monday.
The Spanish great was 1-1 with the flamboyant Italian in Grand Slams but he was never seriously troubled in his 6-3, 6-4, 6-2 win on Rod Laver Arena.
Nadal is now into his 43rd Grand Slam quarter-final, staying on course for a title match with eight-time winner Novak Djokovic who battled through an abdominal injury to reach the last eight on Sunday.
Next up for Nadal is Greece’s world number six Stefanos Tsitsipas, who went through on a walkover after Italy’s Matteo Berrettini pulled out with an abdominal strain.
The Melbourne tournament remained fan-free for a third day on Monday during a five-day lockdown in Victoria state to curb a coronavirus outbreak.
As the action continued in front of empty stands, unseeded American Jessica Pegula reached her maiden Grand Slam quarter-final with victory over Elina Svitolina, her first over a top-10 player.
Pegula, whose billionaire father owns the Buffalo Bills NFL team, overcame fifth seed Svitolina 6-4, 3-6, 6-3 to set up a meeting with fellow American Jennifer Brady, a 6-1, 7-5 winner against Croatia’s Donna Vekic.
“I can’t get more confident — it is my best result yet and I’m playing good tennis and today was a hard-fought win,” said Pegula, 26.
“Jen (Brady) is an awesome person. She’s a great person,” Pegula added. “She was texting me, ‘I’m so happy, I’m so proud. This is awesome.'”
– Russians are coming –
Elsewhere, fourth seed Daniil Medvedev and seventh seed Andrey Rublev both won to ensure an all-Russian quarter-final.
Medvedev, the 2019 US Open runner-up, blew away American world number 192 Mackenzie McDonald 6-4, 6-2, 6-3 to extend his winning streak to 18 matches.