Rafael Nadal has taken another big step at adding to his total haul of grand slam titles.
The Spaniard zoomed into the Fourth Round of the ongoing Australian Open on Friday when he trounced Alex de Minaur 6-1, 6-2, 6-4.
This is the 43rd time in his glittering career that Nadal will be making it to the Last 16.
Nadal who had described his teenage opponent as “one of the best in the world” showed class in Friday’s Third Round tie.
Nadal, a 17-time Grand Slam champion dragged the 19-year-old Australian 27th seed over every inch of Rod Laver Arena as he romped to victory in 2 hours 22 minutes.
The Spaniard limped out of last year’s Australian Open at the quarter-final stage, cut short his 2018 season to have surgery on a foot injury and pulled out of his Brisbane warm-up with a thigh niggle.
But in the third competitive match of his comeback, he was back to his barnstorming best with his all-action game hardly allowing his young rival a sniff.
De Minaur, to his eternal credit, did little wrong and never gave up the fight.
“He is a big fighter. Probably he is the fastest on the tour,” Nadal said after the match.
“That match point saved was unbelievable.
“I think I played a very solid match and I want to congratulate Alex for a great start to the season. I think he has an amazing future.”
Having conquered Minaur, the next stop for Nadal is unseeded Czech former world number four Tomas Berdych who he will be fighting for a place in the quarter-finals.