Rafael Nadal continued to strengthen rolling the dangerous Fabio Fognini 6-3, 6-4, 6-2 to advance to his 13th Australian Open quarterfinal.
Fognini, who beat Nadal from two sets down the last time they met at a Slam back at the 2015 US Open, got up a break in the second but otherwise Nadal had very little trouble on a match that lasted just over two hours.
“When you go on court against Fabio you worry,” said Nadal. “There can always be problems. I was just lucky that when he broke me I responded immediately and held the score. Today was very humid and quicker during the day, which I like, but I have to adapt to every condition.”
Nadal has now won his last 11 Grand Slam matches, running off 33 straight sets. And his back is getting better by the day.
“First set, without a doubt, was my best level in the tournament,” Nadal said. “My physical condition needs to keep improving, but I think match helps. I was not able to practice the proper way for the past 19 days, but yesterday I started again to increase the amount of work in practice.”
During his press conference, Nadal let slip that his next opponent was already decided, and it was. Matteo Berrettini withdrew due to an ab injury moving Stefanos Tsitsipas into the Wednesday showdown against Nadal.
The much-anticipated Russian quarterfinal battle between Daniil Medvedev and Andrey Rublev has been booked after both cruised into the final eight.
Medvedev won his 18th straight match blasting past the last American man, Mackenzie McDonald, 6-4, 6-2, 6-3.
“When you play Mackenzie, many times he’s going to be in control of the games and you just need to defend,” Medvedev said. “I knew that I needed to play a lot of low balls, because he plays really flat and aggressive. If you give him high balls, he’s going to try to destroy them. That’s what he did in a few moments.
Rublev didn’t even go the distance. The 23-year-old got up on Casper Ruud by two sets 6-2, 7-6(3) when the Norwegian retired with an stomach injury missing a chance to become the first player from his country to reach a slam quarterfinal.
Rublev, who hasn’t dropped a set, will now try to earn his first win over Medvedev in his fourth try.
“At least one of us will be in the semis,” said Rublev looking ahead. “At least that’s the good news. But it’s going to be a tough match. I mean, last time he beat me in the quarters in the US Open. Now we’re again in quarters in the Australian Open. So we’ll see what’s going to happen. I hope we can show a great fight and great level.”
On Tuesday in Melbourne, the quarterfinals kick-off with Grigor Dimitrov seeking a second Australian quarterfinal against the surprising Russian Aslan Karatsev.
And in the evening, Novak Djokovic faces Alexander Zverev for the second time in as many events. Djokovic just beat the German in three sets during the ATP Cup. Djokovic ab injury wasn’t a concern on Sunday, but perhaps it could flare up again.
“It’s really unpredictable,” Djokovic said. “It could cause much more damage than it is at the moment, but it also could go in a good direction. So that’s something that I don’t know, and I don’t think I will also know until I stop taking painkillers.
“As long as I’m with high dose of painkillers, I guess, still can bear some of the pain. But the tricky thing with the painkillers is that they kind of hide what’s really happening in there, so you might not feel it, but then the big damage might be done.”
TUESDAY AUSTRALIAN OPEN SCHEDULE
Rod Laver Arena – 12:30 PM
HSIEH, Su-Wei (TPE) vs. OSAKA, Naomi (JPN) 
Not before: 3:00 PM
DIMITROV, Grigor (BUL)  vs. KARATSEV, Aslan (RUS)
WILLIAMS, Serena (USA)  vs. HALEP, Simona (ROU) 
DJOKOVIC, Novak (SRB)  vs. ZVEREV, Alexander (GER) 
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