Nadal breezes by Lopez into final eight
Rafael Nadal cruised into the quarter-finals of the Australian Open with a 6-4 6-4 6-2 triumph over Feliciano Lopez.
The second seed was never headed as he surged to the lead with a break of Lopez's serve in the third game of the first set and never looked back. Nadal dominated from the back of the court, his heavy groundstrokes frustrating his compatriot into 52 unforced errors in the contest.
Nadal claimed the second set in somewhat similar fashion to the first, pressing Lopez into mistakes as a crucial break of serve late in the set proved the difference.
Another break in the second game of the third set then allowed Nadal to place one foot in the next round as he moved to a 2-0 lead. Lopez looked lost for answers as he tried to gain a foothold in the match, but the 2009 winner broke again to go 5-2 up.
Nadal made no mistake when serving for the match, holding to 15 to put the injury concerns of the past few weeks behind him.
He will now take on Tomas Berdych who won a fierce battle with Nicolas Almagro on Sunday afternoon. The seventh seed claimed a tight four-set victory 4-6 7-6(5) 7-6(3) 7-6(2) in just under four hours on court. Berdych's remarkable 70 winners to Almagro's 54 proved the difference during the three tiebreakers as the Czech looks to go beyond last year's effort of reaching the final eight.
Juan Martin Del Potro also secured his passage to the next round with a 6-4 6-2 6-1 triumph over Philipp Kohlschreiber. The Argentine was near flawless in his performance, hitting just 12 unforced errors while winning 80% of points on first serves in play.
Del Potro will face the winner of Sunday night's match between Roger Federer and Bernard Tomic.