Second seed Rafael Nadal overcame Slovakian qualifier Lukas Lacko in straight sets to reach the fourth round at the Australian Open on Friday.
The Spanish 10-time grand slam champion won 6-2, 6-4, 6-2 as he chases his second Australian title.
Nadal wore down the 119th-ranked Lacko after being forced to work hard at the start of the match. The opening point was a 28-shot rally and the first two games took 14 minutes.
Rafael Nadal reaches Australian Open 4th round. Nadal will now face either American 16th seed John Isner or Spain’s 18th seed Feliciano Lopez in the round of 16 on Sunday.
The Spaniard claimed the Australian Open title in 2009 but was forced to retire hurt against Andy Murray in 2010 and was hampered by a left adductor injury in his quarter-final defeat to David Ferrer last year.
Nadal is currently joint sixth with Bill Tilden on the list of all-time grand slam men’s singles champions behind Roger Federer (16).
Lacko, 24, reached the third round of a grand slam for the first time after defeating Croatia’s 28th seed Ivan Ljubicic and American Donald Young.