Facing the man who dumped him from the 2015 US Open, second seed Nadal held steady against the fierce hitting of the flamboyant Italian and counter-punched brilliantly to avoid a longer scrap at a sunbathed Rod Laver Arena.
The score suggested otherwise, but it was a quality two-hour 16-minute workout for Nadal, who had to rally from 4-2 down in the second set to put the match on his terms.
When you reach your 4️⃣3️⃣rd Grand Slam quarterfinal 🙌@RafaelNadal | #AO2021 | #AusOpen https://t.co/59xQYuFCfl
— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) 1613371710000
From there, the momentum was all the Spaniard’s as Nadal roared through the final set to fix up a clash with either Stefanos Tsitsipas or Matteo Berrettini.