World No. 1 Rafael Nadal stormed into the men’s singles pre-quarters of the Australian Open 2020 with a crushing win over fellow Spaniard Pablo Carreno Busta on Saturday. A red-hot Nadal won 6-1, 6-2, 6-4 at the Rod Laver Arena, entering the round of 16 for the 13th time at Melbourne Park.
“My best match of the tournament so far, without a doubt. I’m improving every day, so super-happy,” Nadal said of his match. “I did well on my serve and hit good forehands down the line, which is a key shot for me.”
Nadal is hunting for a second Australian Open title having finished runners-up last year losing to Novak Djokovic. Should he lift the trophy, he will equal the singles Grand Slam title record of his great rival Roger Federer who currently was 20 such trophies to his name.
Like Nadal, Simona Halep too sailed into the last-16, beating Kazakhstan’s Yulia Putintseva in women’s singles.
Halep, seeded fourth, won 6-1, 6-4 to inch closer to a maiden Australian Open title. “I am not focusing on other players, just on myself. At this level, every match is really tough. It’s been a great year last year but this is different tennis. I am ready, I give everything I have to win and really, really happy to be in the second week now,” Halep said after the match.
However, it was curtains for World No. 2 Karolina Pliskova who suffered a shocking loss to Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova of Russia.
Pavlyuchenkova won 7-6 (7/4), 7-6 (7/3) to enter the last-16 stage. “I don’t know what to say, of course I’m really happy but I won’t really realise that until later. It was a lot of fun and I actually really enjoyed it, ” Pavlyuchenkova said.