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Page last updated at 11:49 GMT, Monday, 24 January 2011

Australian Open: Nadal sets up Ferrer last-eight clash

Australian Open, Melbourne
Venue: Melbourne Park Dates: 17-30 January
Coverage: Watch on BBC TV, Red Button, BBC Sport website (UK only) & Eurosport; listen on BBC 5 live sports extra and online; text commentary online; full details

Rafael Nadal

Clinical Nadal sees off Cilic

Top seed Rafael Nadal will face fellow Spaniard David Ferrer in the Australian Open quarter-finals after defeating 15th seed Marin Cilic 6-2 6-4 6-3.

Nadal twice broke the Croat in a hard-fought first set and then broke his opponent again in the seventh game of the second on his way to a 2-0 lead.

He repeated the feat in the seventh and ninth game of the third set to complete his win in two hours and 31 minutes.

Earlier, seventh seed Ferrer beat Canadian Milos Raonic 4-6 6-2 6-3 6-4.

Nadal had been suffering from the effects of a virus he picked in Doha during his opening matches in Melbourne but following his victory over Cilic he revealed he was now "physically fit".

"Before the match I was a little bit nervous because he is very dangerous and I tried to play with high intensity," said the 24-year-old, who will hold all four Grand Slam titles at the same time if he wins in Melbourne.

"I am very happy because I played my best match of the year at the Australian Open."

"I am not sweating that much tonight, in previous days I was sweating like crazy and I was feeling very tired.

"Today was the first time that I felt perfect physically."

The first set of the contest against his 6ft 6in opponent took 56 minutes to complete and was brutal and tight, despite what the 6-2 scoreline may suggest.

606: DEBATE

The Spanish world number one made the perfect start, breaking his Croat opponent in the first game. The highlight was an outlandish lob from Nadal which seemed to break the laws of physics as it appeared to swing out but then land in.

The rest of the set was less Hollywood from Nadal as he was forced to battle hard for his points against a defiant Cilic.

Rafael Nadal talks to to Jim Courier

Nadal fighting fit for Ferrer in quarter-finals

The 22-year-old Croat had a chance to break back in the fourth but wasted his opportunity as Nadal clung on.

Cilic was broken again in the fifth after Nadal produced arguably the shot of the match, sprinting to the net and making a near-impossible pick-up.

He went on to take the set and then grabbed the crucial break in the seventh game of the second set when he forced Cilic into playing a long forehand.

The Croat then had break point in the 10th as Nadal looked to serve for the set, but his single chance was thwarted by the Spaniard as he secured a 2-0 lead.

Milos is an unbelievable player. He had a lot of chances which he didn't make

David Ferrer

The world number one, who endured an unexpectedly tough test against world 199 Bernard Tomic in the previous round, had two break points saved in the fifth game of the third set but took the next opportunity, in the seventh, when Cilic found the net with a volley.

Nadal then held serve and took the third of three match points on Cilic's serve to book his place in the last eight.

Earlier, there had been huge expectations of another big seed falling on Monday as the big-serving Raonic, who had already dumped out Michael Llodra (ranked 22) and Mikhail Youzhny (ranked 10), faced Ferrer, who was looking to match his efforts from 2008 when he reached the last eight.

The Canadian qualifier dished up the fastest serve in the first two rounds of the tournament at 143mph and he put his service to good effect once again as he took the opening set.

But despite his explosive first set, the Montenegro-born star was unable to maintain his fine run as Ferrer rattled off the next three sets in emphatic fashion.

"I think it was very a tough match," Ferrer said. "Milos is an unbelievable player. He served really good. He had a lot of chances which he didn't make.

"It was more easy in the third set and he was more tired in the fourth set. I broke him two times. But I played very, very consistently all the match.

"When I lost the first set, I did one mistake. It was unbelievable. That one mistake lost me the set."

In the same half of the draw, Andy Murray had earlier beaten Jurgen Melzer after the unseeded Alexandr Dolgopolov upset world number four Robin Soderling in five sets.



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see also
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Murray crushes poor Garcia-Lopez
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Classy Murray sees off Marchenko
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Murray opens with Melbourne win
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Men's singles latest
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Women's singles latest
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Men's singles draw
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