Revved up Rafa on a roll
20 days ago the outlook looked pretty bleak for Rafael Nadal, back muscle spasms threatening his chances to turn 20 majors into a men’s record-breaking 21.
The reigning Roland-Garros 2020 champion has managed his back concern to incrementally build up devastating momentum.
He hasn’t been hampered on serve, broken only four times in four matches, with the world No.2 storming into the quarter-finals without dropping a set.
On Monday Nadal once again ramped up his level, dispatching the mercurial 16th seed Fabio Fognini 6-3, 6-4, 6-2. Just eight hours and nine minutes on court in week one, the Spaniard is fresh and firing.
“I'm excited about playing that quarter-finals,” stated the 2009 Australian Open champion.
“If we compare how I was five days ago and how I am today's situation, it's different, and my perspective and excitement is completely different, too.”
The 34-year-old, bidding to become the first man in the Open Era to clinch each of the four majors on two or more occasions, will take a 6-1 head-to-head into his next clash against fifth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas. The Greek has put in four polished performances Down Under, but can he conjure up a special showing to halt Nadal?