Top seed Rafael Nadal routed fellow Spaniard Pablo Carreno Busta for the loss of just seven games at the Australian Open Saturday despite staying up late to watch Roger Federer’s five-set epic the night before.
The 33-year-old was in virtuoso form to charge past the 27th seed 6-1, 6-2, 6-4 in hot sunshine on Rod Laver Arena and make the round of 16 at Melbourne Park for a 13th time.
“It was my best match of the tournament so far, without a doubt,” said Nadal as he revved up his bid for a 20th Grand Slam title to match Federer’s record.
“Big difference between today and the previous days. I have been serving well, starting to create damage with the forehand.”
He added that his confidence was rising the deeper he goes into the tournament as he targets only a second Australian Open title after his 2009 win.
“Every day is a different story. But, of course, is important to make steps forward. It’s clear that today I make an important one.”
Nadal joined great rival Federer in the fourth round, admitting he sat up to watch the Swiss great’s stunning defeat of John Millman in a fifth-set super tie-breaker which ended at nearly 1:00 am.
The Spaniard said on court that he was up at night watching the match, adding “it was impossible to sleep.”
“I watch almost everything, yeah. I did room service,” he added in the press conference..
“Roger, I think, played a little bit up and down. But in the fifth he started to push when he was break down. I think he started to play very aggressive.
“Anything could happen, but Federer is Federer.”
Nadal’s romp over Carreno Busta set up a potential showdown next with Nick Kyrgios.
The Australian, who disparagingly labelled Nadal “super salty” last year, and mimicked his serving routine during his second-round clash, meets Russian Karen Khachanov later.
“When he plays good tennis and he shows passion for this game, he is a positive player for our tour,” Nadal said of Kyrgios, who was handed a 16-week suspended ban in September after a string of indiscretions.
“When he’s doing the other stuff, of course I don’t like.”
Nadal, a finalist last year when he crashed to Novak Djokovic in straight sets, was far from clinical in his previous match against Federico Delbonis, winning only three out of 20 break points.
But his conversion rate against his Davis Cup teammate was much better, putting away five from 10 in a dominant display from the 2009 champion.
He broke Carreno Busta on his first service game to immediately take charge, dictating the rallies and forcing his opponent around the court.
Carreno Busta became a spectator as Nadal raced through the set in 29 minutes and he then broke again early in the second set to inflict more pain.
Nadal’s relentless consistency was too much for the 28-year-old, who had no answers to the constant pressure and pinpoint service returns that were a trademark in the easy win.
Here’s the full video of the press conference
With AFP Inputs