Spain’s Rafael Nadal was at his dominant best against Pablo Carreno Busta on Saturday, brushing aside his compatriot 6-1 6-2 6-4 to move into the fourth round at the Australian Open.
Top seed Nadal has not been beaten by a fellow countryman since losing to Fernando Verdasco at Melbourne Park in 2016, and extended his winning streak against Spanish players to 18 matches with his win over 30th-ranked Carreno Busta.
Nadal, bidding for a record-equalling 20th Grand Slam title, faced no break points and struck 42 winners to just seven unforced errors in the one hour and 38 minute contest on Rod Laver Arena.
Nadal sealed the victory after Carreno Busta sent a backhand return into the net, setting up a meeting with either Australian Nick Kyrgios or Russian 16th seed Karen Khachanov.
Meanwhile, fifth-seeded Dominic Thiem had a much easier time in his third-round match than his second and beat Taylor Fritz 6-2, 6-4, 6-7 (5), 6-4 to advance to the second week at Melbourne Park.
Fritz double-faulted on match point.
Two days ago the Austrian player needed five sets to beat Australian wild-card entry Alex Bolt.
It is the third time that Thiem has beaten the American at a Grand Slam tournament. He beat Fritz in four sets in the second round of the 2017 U.S. Open and again in the third round at Flushing Meadows a year later.
Thiem will next play Gael Monfils, who also advanced to the fourth round with a 7-6 (2), 6-4, 6-3 win over qualifier Ernests Gulbis.
The 33-year-old Frenchman reached the second week at Melbourne Park for the fourth time, and first since 2017.
Monfils has beaten the No. 256-ranked Gulbis all three times they have met on tour, including in the second round of the 2013 French Open.
Before coming to Melbourne, Monfils represented France at the ATP Cup. He beat Chile’s Cristian Garin in singles but lost to Novak Djokovic of Serbia, the eventual champions.
— with files from the Associated Press