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Jakarta Post

Nadal crushes fiery Fognini to reach quarter-finals



Melbourne, Australia   /   Mon, February 15, 2021   /   05:20 pm
Nadal crushes fiery Fognini to reach quarter-finals Spain's Rafael Nadal serves against Italy's Fabio Fognini during their men's singles match on day eight of the Australian Open tennis tournament in Melbourne on February 15, 2021. (Agence France Presse/Paul Crock)

Rafa Nadal threw a blanket over the fire of Fabio Fognini to cruise into the quarter-finals of the Australian Open with a 6-3 6-4 6-2 win on Monday.

Facing the man who dumped him from the 2015 US Open, second seed Nadal held steady against the fierce hitting of the flamboyant Italian and counter-punched brilliantly to avoid a longer scrap at a sunbathed Rod Laver Arena.

The score suggested otherwise, but it was a quality two-hour 16-minute workout for Nadal, who had to rally from 4-2 down in the second set to put the match on his terms.

From there, the momentum was all the Spaniard's as Nadal roared through the final set to fix up a clash with either Stefanos Tsitsipas or Matteo Berrettini.

Meanwhile, Italian Matteo Berrettini has withdrawn from his Australian Open fourth round match against Stefanos Tsitsipas due to an abdominal strain, organisers said.

Berrettini suffered the injury during his win against Russian Karen Khachanov in the third round.

Greek fifth seed Tsitsipas will meet Nadal for a place in the last four of the year's opening Grand Slam.

Also, Czech Karolina Muchova recovered from a shaky start to defeat Belgian Elise Mertens 7-6(5) 7-5 and reach the last eight of the Australian Open on Monday.

Mertens, seeded 18th at Melbourne Park, had defeated Muchova in straight sets at the end of last year in Ostrava in their only previous meeting and was cruising at 4-0 in the first set.

But 25th seed Muchova then found her range at Margaret Court Arena and soon got back on level terms before taking the opener in the tiebreaker.

The 24-year-old picked up the crucial break in the 11th game of the second set and converted her first match point when Mertens found the net on a return.

The Czech will next meet top-ranked Australian Ash Barty or American Shelby Rogers.