100th grand slam: Rafael Nadal, Marin Cilic into Australian Open quarterfinals
Tehran(KNA) : Former U.S. Open champion Marin Cilic became the first man into the quarter-finals of the Australian Open when he ground down Spaniard Pablo Carreno Busta 6-7(2) 6-3 7-6(0) 7-6(3) on Sunday.
Top-seeded Rafael Nadal overcame a pesky Diego Schwartzman to beat the Argentinian 6-3, 6-7 (4), 6-3, 6-3 and advance to the Australian Open men's quarterfinals.
Nadal struggled at times against Schwartzman and needed 13 minutes to hold his serve in the second game of the fourth set when he saved five break points.
He saved all seven break points he faced in the final set - 15 of 18 in the match - then broke Schwartzman's serve in the final game, clinching it on his third match point.
Nadal will play sixth-seeded Marin Cilic in the quarterfinals as the Spaniard attempts to win his second Australian Open title and 17th Grand Slam singles championship.
Former U.S. Open champion Cilic became the first man into the quarterfinals when he ground down Spaniard Pablo Carreno Busta 6-7(2) 6-3 7-6(0) 7-6(3).
In an entertaining baseline duel at the Margaret Court Arena, sixth seed Cilic blew away Carreno Busta in the tiebreaks to celebrate his 100th grand slam win.
A former semifinalist at Melbourne Park, Cilic also equalled Goran Ivanisevic's Croatian record of 11 grand slam quarterfinal appearances.
Carreno Busta showed heart to rally from a break down in the fourth set and push the match into a third tiebreak but was quickly overwhelmed by Cilic's firepower as the Croatian brought up four match points in a hurry.
Cilic blew one of them by spraying a crosscourt shot wide but made no mistake on the second, hammering a huge first serve down the 'T' and picking off the return with a straightforward forehand winner, bringing raucous cheers from the large Croatian contingent in the terraces.
The 2014 U.S. Open champion Cilic will meet either last year's finalist Rafa Nadal or Argentine Diego Schwartzman for a place in the semifinals.
"It was an unbelievable match, a lot of ups and downs," Cilic said in his on-court interview.
"Pablo came back and really gave me a lot of trouble ... We had a lot of tough rallies so I was really glad how I stayed in there mentally."
Elise Mertens extended her winning streak to nine matches with a 7-6 (5), 7-5 victory over Petra Martic, reaching the quarterfinals in her first appearance in the Australian Open women's main draw.
After unsuccessfully serving for the match, Mertens broke Martic's service in the 11th game and then held to love in the last game.
Martic took a medical timeout to receive treatment from a trainer for a hip or upper thigh complaint after the fifth game of the second set.
Mertens, who successfully defended her Hobart International title last week, finished last year ranked 35th, up from No. 120 in 2016.
In the quarterfinals, Mertens will play the winner of Sunday night's match between fourth-seeded Elina Svitolina and qualifier Denisa Allertova, who hasn't dropped a set in her three main-draw matches.