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Irrepressible Nadal marches past Vesely into last eight

Published: Updated:

The bar was set absurdly high by the time Rafael Nadal walked onto Centre Court on Monday but the Spaniard responded with a sensational 6-3 6-3 6-4 defeat of Jiri Vesely to reach the Wimbledon quarter-finals.

His great rival and eight-times champion Roger Federer had already maintained his regal progress, claiming the first set of his match against Adrian Mannarino in 16 minutes. Then came Serena Williams who posted another thumping win to continue her ominous progress towards an eighth-title.

So Nadal, whose 17 Grand Slam titles are eclipsed by Federer's 20 and the 23 owned by Williams, had a lot to live up to in the warm late afternoon sunshine. He did not disappoint -- dissecting fellow left-hander Vesely with a typically rumbustious display.

Like Federer, Nadal has yet to drop a set here on reaching the quarter-finals for the first time since 2011 -- since when his record at the All England Club has been mediocre.

So far this year, though, it has been like watching him on a Parisian claycourt rather than a London lawn, such has been the ferocity in his brutal groundstrokes and his boundless energy. After claiming an 11th French Open title Nadal raised doubts about whether he would even play at Wimbledon.

However, not only did he arrive with his batteries charged after some Mallorcan sunshine, the 32-year-old has looked like the one who beat Federer in their epic final in 2008.

Nadal has suffered some bad losses since reaching the 2011 showpiece, falling to four players with three-digit rankings. But burly Czech Vesely, more dangerous than his 93rd ranking suggest, never got close to causing an upset.