World no. 2 Rafael Nadal is through to his 13th Australian Open quarter-final, beating Fabio Fognini 6-3, 6-4, 6-2 in two hours and 16 minutes. Nadal lost serve twice and delivered six breaks from 19 opportunities, trailing in set number two and overcoming the deficit to advance into the last eight without losing a set.
Nadal provided four excellent holds and two breaks in the opener for 6-3, serving at only 42% but dropping only six points behind the initial shot. Fabio had more winners and more unforced errors, stealing Rafa's serve once but finding himself behind following two loose service games.
Rafa held at 15 in the first game when Fabio netted a backhand and grabbed a break in the next one following his opponent's another backhand mistake. Nadal landed a perfect backhand down the line winner to secure the third game and open a 3-0 lead in 13 minutes.
Finding his strokes, Fognini broke back at 15 in game five with a backhand winner before Nadal grabbed another break a few minutes later with a deep return to restore the order and open a 4-2 gap. The Spaniard confirmed the break with a hold at 15 and created three set points on the return in the next one.
Digging deep, Fabio escaped those and held after seven deuces to reduce the deficit before Rafa held at love with a service winner in game nine for 6-3 in 46 minutes.
Rafael Nadal defeated Fabio Fognini in straight sets in Melbourne.
The Spaniard was 4-2 down in the second set, rattling off four straight games after that to raise his level and bring the second set home for a massive advantage.
Fognini clinched a break in the sixth game when Nadal's forehand landed long. Rafa pulled the break back in the next one after seizing the fifth break opportunity following Fognini's massive forehand error. Serving in game eight, the 2009 champion fended off three break chances, two with service winners, and rattled off five straight points for a vital hold.
Losing the edge, the Italian sprayed a forehand error in game nine to fall 5-4 down, allowing Rafa to seal the set with a hold at love in game ten and move closer to the finish line. With momentum on his side, Nadal broke in the third set's third game and confirmed his victory with another break at 3-1 thanks to Fognini's forehand mistake. Rafa held at 15 in game six and moved over the top with another impressive hold at 5-2.