Rafael Nadal looking forward to 'beautiful match' against Marin Cilic, overcomes Diego Schwartzman in fourth round

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Rafael Nadal described his upcoming quarter-final against Marin Cilic as a “beautiful match” after he overcame Diego Schwartzman in a near-four-hour tussle in humid conditions at the Australian Open on Sunday.

Nadal posted a 6-3, 6-7(4), 6-3, 6-3 win over the tricky Argentine to reach his 10th quarter-final in Melbourne and move to second place alongside Stefan Edberg on the Open Era list of most appearances in the Australian Open last-eight. Only Roger Federer has reached more as the Swiss looks to make his 14th quarter-final when he takes on Marton Fucsovics in round four on Monday.

The victory also means Nadal will remain at No. 1 following the Australian Open, which would extend his reign at the top of the rankings to 166 weeks in total.

Nadal admits his clash with Schwartzman was the toughest he’s endured so far this year.

“Was a good test, and at the same time, I prefer to win in two hours than in four. But being honest, too, moments like this helps to be more confident in yourself, in your body,” said the 31-year-old.

“I resisted very well. Very happy. Very proud about the third and fourth set, because situation was not easy for me, and I was able to hold my serve all the time. Sometimes with saving tough moments.

“But I played with determination, and that’s what I gonna need, and I gonna need to serve well. I’m going to need to play with more determination with my forehand in the next match. I am focusing on trying to make it.”

Cilic, the No. 6 seed has been flying under the radar but has produced four strong victories en route to the quarter-finals, his latest a 6-7 (2), 6-3, 7-6 (0), 7-6 (3) over 10th-seeded Pablo Carreno Busta on Sunday.

The Croatian has now made eight quarter-finals in his last 16 Grand Slams and is into the last-eight in Melbourne for the first time since 2010.

“Against Marin will be a tough one, but at the same time, is a beautiful match to play against a great player,” said Nadal, who leads their head-to-head 5-1.

Cilic’s win over Carreno Busta was gave him his 100th match victory at a Grand Slam.

The 29-year-old, who was a runner-up at Wimbledon last year, is pleased with his level despite some inconsistency over the four sets.

“Difficult. I should have won the first. I should have lost the third. I should have won quicker the fourth. So it was up and down a lot. It was difficult match,” said Cilic of his showdown with Spain’s Carreno Busta.

Looking ahead to his quarter-final against Nadal, Cilic said: “Throughout my career, I knew that if I’m playing well, if I’m top of my game, that I can challenge most of the guys on the tour and, you know, with the win at the US Open that, you know, I believe it just became stronger.

“I know I believe in my own game, I believe in what I’m doing. I think I’m moving the right direction. You know, it’s obviously a big challenge playing them, but that’s what we also work for on the trainings.”

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