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Rafael Nadal eases pass Pablo Carreno to reach Australian Open fourth round

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Top seed Rafael Nadal brushed aside countryman Pablo Carreno Busta in straight sets to reach the Australian Open fourth round for the 13th time.

The 33-year-old broke his Spanish countryman five times as he secured a 6-1 6-2 6-4 victory against the 27th seed in one hour and 38 minutes on Rod Laver Arena.

Nadal, targeting a record-equalling 20th Grand Slam title, did not face a single break point as he hit 42 winners compared to just seven unforced errors.

The Spaniard, whose only Australian Open title came in 2009, will either meet Australian Nick Kyrgios or Russian 16th seed Karen Khachanov in the last 16.

“It’s my best match of the tournament so far without a doubt so that’s a very good thing,” said Nadal.

“I’m super happy. Sorry for Pablo because he’s a good friend of mine. When the conditions are warmer the ball bounces higher and flies through the air. That helps my game.

“I did very well with my serves and started to hit some forehands down the line. That is key for me.”

Victory for Nadal extended his winning streak against fellow Spaniards to 18 matches, going back to a 2016 Australian Open first-round defeat by Fernando Verdasco.

Fifth seed Dominic Thiem reached the fourth round at Melbourne Park for the third time in the past four years with a 6-2 6-4 6-7 (5-7) 6-4 win against American Taylor Fritz.

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