Nadal claimed a 7-5 6-1 6-4 win in two hours six minutes on Rod Laver Arena, to book a quarter-final match-up against seventh seed Tomas Berdych.
In some sense, Nadal picked up from where he left off on Friday night when he struggled to close out the third set against Dudi Sela.
The first set against Anderson saw him save a total of six break points - including five in an enthralling 11th game - much like he had to do to ensure himself of a straight-sets victory against Sela.
Anderson, of course, is a much-more grounded player than the Israeli - just take a look at his 14th seeding, and also the power he packs in his serve and ground strokes.
Despite not conceding a break-point chance in his first five service games, the South African's sixth was his downfall - a tight game burying him in a 15-40 hole.
And the tightness showed again on Nadal's second set point - a tentative approach from Anderson was followed by an awkward volley, which he put into the net.
Giving Nadal that kind of mental currency was far from ideal, and Anderson conceded the second set in just 32 minutes - and he would not produce another break-point chance after the first set.
A service break in the third game of the third set saw Nadal completely turn the tables from a potentially perilous position earlier.
And as champions do, a potential banana peel clash was turned into a consummate victory as the 2009 champion advanced to the quarters for his eighth straight visit to Melbourne.