Second seed Rafael Nadal, for a third time, recovered from a set down to beat Kazakhstan’s Mikhail Kukushkin and book a last-16 slot at Wimbledon.
The world number one hit 41 winners, nine more than the unseeded Kazhak under the roof of Centre Court on his track to a 6-7 (4-7), 6-1, 6-1, 6-1 win.
Nadal said: “The body is fine, my physical performance looks good and that’s the most important thing for me. I’ve finished all my matches playing better than the start. I’m very happy to be back in the second week, playing well, fighting for every ball.”
The two-time champion will play Nick Kyrgios or Jiri Vesely in the fourth round on Monday.
Kukushkin claimed the first set tie-break to mount pressure on Nadal, but as soon as the 63rd-ranked player’s first-serve percentage dipped in the second set, he became vulnerable.
The Spaniard broke serve for the first time to move 3-1 ahead and pounced on 10 of 12 attempts on Kukushkin’s second serve as he leveled at one set apiece.
Nadal peaked as the match wore on while a troublesome knee did more than discomfort his opponent. The 2011 champion won 82% of points on first serve & a phenomenal 100% of points on 2nd serve in 3rd set.
Nadal fired a string of winners before sealing victory with another spectacular forehand into the corner, after 2 hours 33 minutes of action.