Updated: Friday, 21 February 2014 08:54 | By Agence France-Presse

Nadal rolls into Rio quarter-finals

World number one Rafael Nadal stormed into the quarter-finals of the $1.3 million ATP Rio Open on Thursday by hammering Spanish compatriot Albert Montanes 6-1, 6-2.

Nadal rolls into Rio quarter-finals

Spanish tennis player Rafael Nadal serves the ball to Spanish tennis player Daniel Gimeno Traver during the 2014 Rio Open at the Jockey Club in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil on February 18, 2014 - by Fernando Soutello

Nadal, in his first event since losing last month's Australian Open final, needed only 74 minutes to book a last-eight date against the winner of a later match between Portugal's 48th-ranked Joao Sousa and 87th-rated Spaniard Albert Ramos.

Nadal broke Montanes three times in each set while surrendering his lone service break in the second set as he improved to 3-0 all-time against his countryman, having yet to lose more than three games in any set against him.

A nagging back injury that has hindered Nadal since his Melbourne loss to Swiss Stanislas Wawrinka forced the 13-time Grand Slam champion to skip Buenos Aires last week.

That left his comeback for Rio, where he starts a clay-court season that he hopes will culminate in a ninth career French Open crown.

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