Australian Open: Nadal moves on
MELBOURNE, Australia ó The ěRafa Slamî is still alive after Rafael Nadal beat Marin Cilic 6-2, 6-4, 6-3 at the Australian Open on Monday to maintain his chance of owning all four Grand Slam trophies at once.
Thatís a feat that hasnít been achieved since Rod Laver won four majors in a calendar year in 1969.
Playing on Melbourne Parkís center court that is named for the Australian great, Nadal advanced to a quarterfinal against Spainís David Ferrer. Nadal is attempting to add to the Grand Slam titles he won last year at the French Open, Wimbledon and the U.S. Open.
Kim Clijsters, seeded No. 3 and increasingly looking as if she can add to her U.S. Open crown, also reached the quarterfinals with a 7-6 (3), 6-2 victory over Ekaterina Makarova of Russia. No. 2 Vera Zvonareva advanced as well.
Clijsters is in the second full season of a comeback after 21/2 years in retirement. She won five singles titles and the U.S. Open last year.
ěI never thought things would be going well so soon after I started again,î she said.
In other fourth-round matches, Alexandr Dolgopolov upset No. 4 Robin Soderling, the highest of the seeded players knocked out of the menís draw. No. 5 Andy Murray defeated No. 11 Jurgen Melzer, and No. 7 Ferrer defeated Canadian qualifier Milos Raonic.
Nadal hasnít dropped a set through four rounds despite a lingering virus he picked up two weeks ago in Qatar.
ěBefore the match I was a little bit nervous,î Nadal said. ěI know how aggressive he can play. I think I played my best match this year here.î
At Nadalís previous match, he sweated profusely while playing Saturday night. On Monday, the weather was cooler and his condition clearly was improving.
ěIím not sweating that much tonight,î Nadal said. ěThe two other days I was sweating like crazy and I felt very tired when I played the match. Today was the first day I felt perfect physically.î
A capacity crowd of 15,000 that included country music star Kenny Rogers ó sitting next to seven-time Grand Slam singles winner Evonne Goolagong Cawley ó saw Nadal struggle at times on his serve.
Earlier, Murray also advanced to the quarterfinals, setting up a possible semifinal with Nadal.
ěI donít want to get carried away,î Murray said after his 6-3, 6-1, 6-1 win over Melzer of Austria. ěIíve never won one of these things before.î
The win put Murray closer to a second straight appearance in the final at Melbourne Park, where he lost to Roger Federer last year after beating Nadal in the quarterfinals.
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