Rafael Nadal survives Marin Cilic scare to reach US Open quarter-final

Alexander Zverev has made just two quarter-finals in 18 Grand Slam appearances

Rafael Nadal came through his first stern examination at the US Open to move a step closer to a maiden Flushing Meadows meeting with Roger Federer.

After dropping his first set of the tournament to Marin Cilic, Nadal snapped back into legendary form, and reeled off nine straight games against the former U.S. Open champion, en route to claiming a 6-3, 3-6, 6-1, 6-2, fourth-round win Monday night at Arthur Ashe Stadium.

Nadal could conceivably face old rival Roger Federer in a blockbuster final, in what would be a first-time meeting in NY, but first the second seed must next overcome 5ft 7in (1.70m) Argentine Diego Schwartzman, who chopped down sixth seed Alexander Zverev.

"It's a huge honor playing in front of all of you of course, but to play in front of Tiger for me is a very special thing", Nadal told the NY crowd. I started to return the second serve inside the court and I think that created a different perspective on the point and me.

"I think it is a huge honour, playing in front of this crowd, but also playing in front of Tiger is very special", he said.

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A blistering cross-court backhand passing victor off a Cilic overhead elicited a fired-up fist-pump from Woods, who was equally appreciate of an outrageous round-the-netpost forehand that brought up match point.

The 18-time Grand Slam champion advanced to the quarter-final of a major for the 40th time in his glittering career with a 6-3, 3-6, 6-1, 6-2 defeat of Croatia's Marin Cilic. "I always say I never had big idols, but I have to say one idol is him". 'Maybe he can lose a little bit of rhythm after that'. "He has everything, unbelievable control, fantastic speed", Nadal said of Schwartzman. Physical issues always I think. Federer faces Grigor Dimitrov in the quarters on Tuesday.

"He can hit shots very well and understand the game very well".

"I mean, a code violation is fine". I didn't even argue that, ' he said. "But neither of us heard me getting a warning in the first place".

By his own admission, Cilic needed to bring his very best tennis if he wanted to have any chance against the Spaniard. Most of the crowd didn't hear it.

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