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Second seed Rafael Nadal eased through into the Australian Open's quarter-finals with a routine straight sets victory against fellow Spaniard Feliciano Lopez. The result means Nadal remains on-course for a potential semi-final match-up with long-term rival Roger Federer.

The world number two broke his opponent's serve on five occasions, dropping his own just once, on his way to a 6-4 6-4 6-2 victory. Left-hander Lopez made the surprising move to try and play Nadal at his own game, attempting to claim a baseline victory against the world's best baseline player.

The 19th seed powerful serve wasn't at the required accuracy throughout, robbing Lopez of his main threat. While never really threatening to produce a shock victory, the three-time Wimbledon quarter-finalist showed glimpses of the sort of quality that has made him such a consistent player throughout his career, without ever being able to make that step up to the next level – something that Nadal managed to do while still in his teenage years. Fans of the Australian Open betting should remember this.

The 2009 champion, Nadal, had come into the season's opening grand slam on the back of a shoulder injury but has looked fully fit on his way to the latter stages of this tournament, not conceding a set in his four matches so far. The Spaniard has admitted he feels he is improving as the tournament goes on, something that will certainly have registered with his rivals. Those looking at tennis betting need to bear this in mind.

"I've started the tournament playing really well this time. I felt I've played well from the first match and today I played another complete match," Nadal said.

"Now I'm in the quarter-finals. I am doing the right things. I am in the right place, right moment."

Despite coming into the tournament both carrying injuries, Nadal and Federer have both blossomed round after round. A semi-final clash would be another chance for tennis to witness two of the modern day greats slugging it out for a place in the first Grand Slam final of 2012. Who would prevail on this occasion, however, is still anybody's guess.
 
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