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Australian Open 2021: Rafael Nadal misses nothing to reach the quarterfinals; defeats Fognini in straight sets

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Rafael Nadal celebrates after beating Fabio Fognini at the Rod Laver Arena in Melbourne on Monday.

Rafael Nadal qualified for the quarterfinals of the Australian Open for the 13th time.

Number 2 Nadal closed his 6-3, 6-4, 6-2 victory over 16th-placed Fabio Fognini with an ace.

He was wary of Fognini and lifted his game in the second and third sets to avoid a repeat of the US Open in 2015. Then Fognini became one of two players who came together from two sets to beat Nadal in five.

This time there was no chance. Nadal responded to the elimination of a service game in the second set, trying straight back.

He will now play with either fifth-placed Stefanos Tsitsipas or ninth-placed Mateo Beretini in the last eight. This will be the 43rd quarterfinal of Nadal’s Grand Slam. He shares the record for most major men’s titles with Roger Federer. Each of them has 20.

Nadal’s preparation for the first year was hampered by stiffness in his back.

After the victory over Fognini, he said: “I am happy that my back is behaving better.”

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