Question marks were hanging over Federer's glittering career when he missed the second half of last season due to injury problems, but the 35-year-old answered those with a stunning comeback win in the Australian Open in January, where he beat Nadal in an epic final.
That went to five sets in Melbourne, but the Swiss needed just over an hour to get the better of the Spaniard, winning 6-2 6-3 in arguably his best performance of any of the 36 instalments of this lasting rivalry.
In a match where conditions were supposed to favour Nadal's wicked top spin forehand, Federer hit his opponent off the court, racking up 26 winners.
The tone was set in the opening game where Federer sent down two scorching backhand winners to take Nadal's serve and a second break soon after wrapped up the set in just 36 minutes.
Two more breaks followed in the second set, the second of which sealed the win, with match point being converted with another sizzling backhand winner. It was a fitting way to claim a third successive win over Nadal for the first time ever.
Federer's reward for the victory is a last-eight meeting with Australian Nick Krygios, who earlier stunned Novak Djokovic with a superb straight sets win.