Spanish second seed Rafael Nadal produced a controlled performance to defeat compatriot Feliciano Lopez in straight sets and reach the quarter-finals of the Australian Open on Sunday.
The 10-time grand slam champion downed 18th-seeded Lopez 6-4, 6-4, 6-2 in 2 hours 25 minutes on a hot day at Rod Laver Arena.
The world number two reached the Melbourne quarter-finals for the sixth straight year and is chasing his second Australian Open victory after beating great rival Roger Federer in the 2009 final.
Nadal broke left-handed Lopez's serve five times and dropped his service only once. He was always in control of the match, improving his record against his opponent to nine wins in 11 meetings.
"It was a very hot day and I think it's a positive to win in straight sets especially in these conditions," Nadal said.
"I've started the tournament playing really well this time. I felt I've played well from the first match and today I played another complete match.
"Now I'm in the quarter-finals. I am doing the right things. I am in the right place, right moment."
Nadal retired with a knee injury in his 2010 quarter-final against Andy Murray and last year played out his losing three-set quarter-final with a torn thigh muscle against compatriot David Ferrer.
"Hopefully, it won't happen this time," Nadal said.
"Every year is different. I've had a bad experience here in the last two years.
"In 2010 I retired because I couldn't continue and last year I decided not to retire, but I had a problem in the second or third game of the match. So I played one complete match with very bad feelings."
Nadal's opponent will be Czech Tomas Berdych, who was booed after he fought back from a set down against Spaniard Nicolas Almagro.
Berdych beat the 10th-seeded Almagro 4-6, 7-6 (7-5), 7-6 (7-3), 7-6 (7-2).
The match ended acrimoniously with the Czech seventh seed accusing Almagro of deliberately hitting a ball at him while he was positioned at the net during a rally.
As Berdych refused to shake hands with Almagro at the end of the match, the crowd erupted into loud booing, almost drowning out his courtside interview.
"It's what they (the crowd) think. When somebody wants to hit you straight to the face I don't see this as a nice moment," he said.
"Especially when you have all the court free and you're just standing in the middle.
"That's their opinion. Nothing's going to change this because that's my decision and I don't have any nice feelings.
"Of course I'm happy to go through in four sets, a really tough one, I'm looking forward to my next match."
In a tight match lasting nearly four hours, Berdych broke serve only once, while Almagro earned two service breaks, but the Czech hit the greater number of winners, 70 to 54.
Meanwhile, Argentina's 11th seed Juan Martin del Potro also advanced with a straight sets win over German Philipp Kohlschreiber.
Del Potro defeated the unseeded German 6-4, 6-2, 6-1 and will next face either third seed Roger Federer or Australian teenager Bernard Tomic on Tuesday.
AFPTags: sport, australian-open, tennis, melbourne-3000, vic, australia First posted January 22, 2012 16:23:13