World No.2 Rafael Nadal has hit his rivals with a frightening admission on the cusp of the quarter-finals, declaring the form he had shown in today's first set the best of his Australian Open campaign yet.The 20-time Grand Slam champion marched into the last eight in a 6-3 6-4 6-2 victory over Italian Fabio Fognini at Rod Laver Arena.Watch the Australian Open with live streams of every court at 9Now. Click here to start watching!The straight-sets win means Nadal is yet to drop a set in this year's Australian Open, having breezed past Laslo Dere, Michael Mmoh, Cameron Norrie and Fognini.But despite the fact the Spanish star has played exceptional tennis right throughout his campaign, the 34-year-old was able to separate today's first set from the rest.Australian Open: Rafael Nadal v Fabio FogniniHe added that his back injury, which has hobbled him since his arrival in Australia, was starting to get better. "The first set I played has without a doubt been my best level in the tournament," Nadal said in his post-match conference."I was able to practice for two days in a row. That makes an important difference."But at the same time, yeah, it's important to find positive feelings now. My physical condition needs to keep improving."But I think this match helps, too. I was not able to practice the proper way for the last 19 days, but yesterday I started to increase the amount of work on the practice, and today has been a positive victory with some long points, so that helps for the next match."Nadal said in his on-court interview that his back had been improving."I'm happy that my back is holding up better," Nadal said on Nine's coverage."Tomorrow is going to be an important day of practice again."Hopefully I will be able to build well and let's see if I am able to play a good match."Rafael Nadal serves during his fourth-round match against Fabio Fognini. (AP)Nadal is set to compete in his 13th Australian Open quarter-final and his 43rd round of eight in a Grand Slam.He will square off with world No.6 Stefanos Tsitsipas for a place in the semi-finals after Italian Matteo Berrettini pulled out of tonight's clash with the Greek star due to injury.For a daily dose of the best of the breaking news and exclusive content from Wide World of Sports, subscribe to our newsletter by clicking here!
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