World No. 1 Rafael Nadal demolished fellow Spaniard Pablo Carreno Busta 6-1 6-2 6-4 on Saturday at the Rod Laver Arena to cruise into the fourth round of the Australian Open. This was Nadal's fifth straight victory over Carreno Busta.
Scoring 42 winners and facing no breakpoints, Nadal made only seven unforced errors while beating the 30th-ranked player. Carreno Busta did not present much of a challenge and scored only 10 points on his returns during the 98-minute match.
Seventeenth straight win over compatriots
The victory also extended Nadal's 17-match winning streak over Spanish players, having not been beaten by a fellow countryman since losing to Fernando Verdasco at Melbourne Park in 2016."It was my best match of the tournament so far, without a doubt," Nadal told reporters. "I have been serving well, starting to create damage with the forehand. Hitting serve on one shot, I think."
Nadal, bidding for a record-equaling 20th Grand Slam trophy, claimed victory when Carreno Busta sent a backhand into the net, setting up a meeting with either Australian Nick Kyrgios or Russian 16th seed Karen Khachanov for a spot in the quarter-finals.
May face controversy's favourite child- Nick Kyrgios
Kyrgios, no stranger to controversy, sparked headlines when he mocked Nadal by imitating the Spaniard's pre-service routine after being hit with a time violation during his second-round match on Thursday. Nadal, who had earlier brushed aside the incident, said he preferred Kyrgios more when he was playing his fiery brand of tennis instead of drawing attention for his on-court antics.
"When he plays good tennis and he shows passion for this game, he is a positive player for our tour and I want my tour bigger, not smaller," he said. "When he's ready to play his best tennis and play with passion, (he) is one of these guys. When he's doing the other stuff, of course I don't like."
(With inputs from agencies)