But French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko’s tournament is over, with the Latvian seventh seed crashing out in three sets to Estonian Anett Kontaveit.
Spanish world number one Nadal showed no mercy to 28th seed Damir Dzumhur on Margaret Court Arena, as he rediscovers his best form after ankle trouble.
The top seed raced through the match in just 1hr 50min, wasting as little energy as possible in the 6-1, 6-3, 6-1 rout. He next faces 24th-seeded Argentine Diego Schwartzman for a place in the quarter-finals.
“He’s a great player. He’s a player that last year had an amazing year, and this year start again playing so well,” Nadal said of Schwartzman. “So already won three matches here, playing again at very high level. He’s a very complete player.
“Being honest, he’s a player that if I don’t play my best, probably I don’t going to win. He’s a player that have all the shots, big control from the baseline, don’t miss much. He’s able to change directions easy. He’s a player that already played the quarterfinals in the US Open. He’s already in the fourth round.
“Tough one, and I need to play my best.”
“In general terms, I think I should be very happy.”
— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 19, 2018
No. 3 seed Dimitrov, who could meet Nadal in the semis, had plenty to prove after a huge second-round fright from a qualifier, who pushed him to five sets.
And the Bulgarian delivered in a testing 6-3, 4-6, 6-4, 6-4 win over Russian rising star Andrey Rublev as temperatures touched 40°C.
He will next face Australian Nick Kyrgios who beat French veteran Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in four close and entertaining sets in a prime-time evening match on Rod Laver Arena.
“It was amazing. I’ve never won a match on this court before but playing Jo I was obviously very nervous,” said the 17th seeded local hope.
Second seed Wozniacki has not impressed so far, but she put in a better performance to beat Dutch 30th seed Kiki Bertens 6-4, 6-3, finally getting over the line on her fourth match point.
It sets her up with a clash against 19th-seeded Slovak Magdalena Rybarikova.
Wozniacki had fought back from the brink in the previous round, rallying from 1-5 down in the final set against Jana Fett, and saving two match points along the way.
“I was close to being out. Yesterday was a nice day, still feeling like I’m still alive, I still have an opportunity. Today I walked out and I thought I started better in my match, started playing a little better,” said the ex-world No. 1.
“She played well today, served well. Yeah, I’m just happy to be through.”
Wozniacki had the benefit of playing the night match on Friday, avoiding the brutal heat conditions that struck the tournament for the past two days.
The Dane watched the second round between Gael Monfils and Novak Djokovic on Thursday, in which the Frenchman looked like he was going to collapse on the court from the extreme temperatures.
“I thought it was a shame that the roof wasn’t on because I think that could have been a really high-quality match. All of a sudden, you know, Monfils was basically passing out in the heat. You could really see both of them struggling,” said Wozniacki.
“I think that could have been an incredible tennis match, but it was hampered a bit by the heat. It is what it is. I don’t really know exactly the rules of when it gets too hot, but I thought yesterday was brutal.”
The 17th seeded Kyrgios needed three tiebreakers to win a crunch match with the former finalist 7-6 (7/5), 4-6, 7-6 (8/6), 7-6 (7/5) in 3hr 17min in a spectacular night match on Rod Laver Arena.
It pitches the volatile Australian into a round of 16 showdown with Bulgaria’s world No.3 Grigor Dimitrov on Sunday.
Kyrgios, urged on by his home crowd, traded breathtaking volleys with Tsonga, who lost to Novak Djokovic in the 2008 Australian final when Kyrgios was a 12-year-old fan.
“It was amazing. I’ve never won a match on this court before but playing Jo I was obviously very nervous,” Kyrgios said on court.
“He was a guy I looked up to as a kid, still do, he’s a great guy. I’m just so happy to get through.
“I was getting prepared for a fifth set in that (fourth set) tiebreaker.
“I thought he was going to hit two big first serves and I was in a lot of trouble but I stayed composed, tied to make some returns and fight it out.”
The match had some drama just after the third set when an incensed Tsonga yelled at the chair umpire in French about a vocal member of the crowd.
Tsonga was heard to say “bring him here, he needs to come down here”.
He said it three times before the umpire warned the French star, telling him: “You have to stop, you have to stop. Nothing good can come from it. You have to stop.”
Tsonga was then issued with a code violation for unsportsmanlike conduct.
Kyrgios won his first home ATP Tour title at the lead-up Brisbane International — beating Dimitrov along the way — and is looking to go further than a quarter-final appearance in Melbourne three years ago.
Rafael Nadal continued his impressive start to the Australian Open, dropping just five games in romping to a straight sets win over Damir Dzumhur on Friday.
The Spanish world No.1 took just 1hr 50min to reach the fourth round with a 6-1, 6-3, 6-1 demolition of the 28th seeded Bosnian on Margaret Court Arena.
Nadal, a losing finalist to Roger Federer last year in Melbourne, has lost only 21 games in his three victories to reach the round of 16.
He will take on Argentina’s 24th seed Diego Schwartzman in Sunday’s fourth round.
“I was very focused and I’m very happy to have another chance on Sunday,” Nadal said.
The 16-time Grand Slam champion conceded just 18 unforced errors and only dropped his service once.
The win took the 31-year-old’s Australian Open record to 54-11 as he chases his second Melbourne title after beating Federer in the 2009 final.
Nadal was ruthless against the Bosnian, breaking his serve seven times with blistering shot-making.
He breezed through the opening set with two breaks for the loss of just one game in 22 minutes.
He then broke Dzumhur in the opening game of the second and finished off the set with another break for a two sets lead.
Nadal continued to attack Dzumhur and broke him in the second and sixth games to wrap up his night.
Nadal, who is gunning for a 17th major title, was hampered by a knee injury at the tail-end of the 2017 season.
It forced him to skip the lead-up Brisbane International this month, and he only had a one-match workout at the exhibition Kooyong Classic in Melbourne ahead of the Open.
Nadal needs to reach the quarter-finals to be certain of retaining his world number one ranking after the Australian Open, with Federer breathing down his neck.