Highlights: Australian Open day eight

Australian Open
FILE PHOTO: Tennis - Australian Open - Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia, February 13, 2021 General view during the third round match between Greece's Stefanos Tsitsipas and Sweden's Mikael Ymer. The tournament continues without crowds today after the state of Victoria was placed under a snap lockdown from Friday to contain a fresh outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) REUTERS/Asanka Brendon Ratnayake

February 15, 2021

MELBOURNE (Reuters) – Rafa Nadal eased past Italian 16th seed Fabio Fognini 6-3 6-4 6-2 to reach his 13th Australian Open quarter-final on Monday.

The Spanish second seed, who is chasing a record 21st Grand Slam title, held steady against the fierce hitting of Fognini and counter-punched brilliantly.

He set up a quarter-final meeting with Greek fifth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas, who advanced to the last eight after ninth seed Matteo Berrettini withdrew due to an abdominal strain.

Daniil Medvedev brushed aside Mackenzie McDonald 6-4 6-2 6-3 to extend his winning streak to 18 matches and set up an all-Russian quarter-final with Andrey Rublev, who was gifted a place in the last eight after Norway’s Casper Ruud retired injured.

Medvedev and Rublev join Russian qualifier Aslan Karatsev in the quarter-finals, making it the first time in the Open era that three Russian men have reached the quarter-finals in the same Grand Slam.

Top-ranked Ash Barty sealed a dominant 6-3 6-4 victory over American Shelby Rogers to reach at least the quarter-finals for the third year in a row.

She will face 25th seed Karolina Muchova in the last eight after the Czech beat Belgium’s Elise Mertens 7-6(5) 7-5.

Jessica Pegula continued her dream run in Melbourne with a 6-4 3-6 6-3 win over Ukrainian fifth seed Elina Svitolina to set up an all-American quarter-final against Jennifer Brady, who beat Croatia’s Donna Vekic 6-1 7-5.

Highlights of day eight of the Australian Open tennis championships at Melbourne Park on Monday. Times local (GMT +11):

2027 TOP SEED BARTY EASES PAST ROGERS

World number one Ash Barty sealed a comfortable 6-3 6-4 win over American Shelby Rogers to set up a quarter-final meeting with Czech Karolina Muchova.

2014 MUCHOVA BEATS MERTENS IN STRAIGHT SETS

Czech 25th seed Karolina Muchova recovered from a slow start to beat Belgian 18th seed Elise Mertens 7-6(5) 7-5.

1854 TSITSIPAS ADVANCES AFTER BERRETTINI WITHDRAWS

Italian ninth seed Matteo Berrettini withdrew from his fourth-round match against Greek fifth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas due to an abdominal strain.

Tsitsipas will face Spanish second seed Rafa Nadal, who is chasing a record 21st Grand Slam title, in the quarter-finals.

1742 NADAL DOWNS FOGNINI IN STRAIGHT SETS

Nadal sealed a dominant 6-3 6-4 6-2 win over Italian 16th seed Fabio Fognini to reach the quarter-finals for the 13th time.

1615 RUBLEV THROUGH AFTER RUUD RETIREMENT

Seventh seed Andrey Rublev advanced after his opponent Casper Ruud retired while trailing 6-2 7-6(3). The Norwegian received treatment for an abdominal injury early in the second set.

1505 BRADY BOOKS QUARTER-FINAL BERTH

American Jennifer Brady eased into the quarter-finals with a 6-1 7-5 victory over Croatia’s Donna Vekic.

Brady sent down nine aces and won 85% of her first-serve points in a dominant performance against Vekic, who had heavy strapping on her right leg.

Brady faces compatriot Jessica Pegula next.

1435 MEDVEDEV MARCHES ON

Fourth seed Daniil Medvedev raced into the quarter-finals with a clinical 6-4 6-2 6-3 victory over American Mackenzie McDonald.

Medvedev sent down seven aces, 29 winners and made just 15 unforced errors as he wrapped up the one-sided contest in 90 minutes.

1310 PEGULA UPSETS SVITOLINA

American Jessica Pegula continued her dream run with a 6-4 3-6 6-3 win over Ukrainian fifth seed Elina Svitolina to reach the quarter-finals at a Grand Slam for the first time.

Pegula was far more effective at the net than her opponent, and also struck 31 winners compared to 19 from Svitolina.

1112 PLAY UNDERWAY ON DAY EIGHT

Play got underway as scheduled on the third day of Victoria’s snap five-day coronavirus lockdown, which has resulted in fans being shut out of Melbourne Park.

One new locally acquired case of COVID-19 was reported in the state in the 24 hours to Monday morning.

The temperature was a cool 18 degrees Celsius (64 degrees Fahrenheit) with a maximum of 27C forecast.

(Reporting by Ian Ransom and Manasi Pathak; Editing by Peter Rutherford, Ed Osmond and Pritha Sarkar)