With either Roger Federer or Andy Murray lying in wait in the semifinals, Rafael Nadal will look for a comfortable passage when the world number one comes up against Grigor Dimitrov in the quarterfinals of the Australian Open on Wednesday.
Where to Watch Live
The quarterfinal match is scheduled for a not before 2 pm AEDT (8.30 am IST) start with live coverage on Star Sports 4 and Star Sports HD2. The match can also be watched through live streaming online HERE in India. Catch the action in the US HERE, while UK viewers can do the same HERE or HERE. Africa viewers can live stream the match HERE.
After breezing past the dangerous Gael Monfils in the third round, Nadal was really put to the test by Japanese Kei Nishikori in round four, with the Spaniard just about managing to come away unscathed 7-6 (3), 7-5, 7-6 (3).
"Kei played a fantastic match, in my opinion," Nadal said after the hard-fought victory on Monday. "Just a few mistakes in some moments that was tough ones. But for the rest, he played very aggressive, he went for the shots. He came on court with determination to take the ball very early and go for the winners.
"Three hours 16 [minutes], the score says that the match was very tough. It is true that it was in three sets. I felt like I won in three sets today because every set was very tough.
"But playing for every set more than one hour is because the match was very close. He was playing great. Was a lot of tough points. I had to run a lot.
"He really had the right feelings to do it. So just was a tough match, a very important win. Very happy."
Nadal has been managing with a blister on his hand, and the Spaniard admitted he has found it difficult to cope with the problem during matches. "The problem is not the blister," he said. "The problem is the place. It is very difficult to cover that blister here. It is not painful, but I cannot play without that cover today.
"It is a little bit hard because with that cover, is true, that you can imagine that is something that I didn't use never. I used one time in my career, or twice. It is different than the ones I am using every day, that I already feel the ball, feel the racquet with all that. That's something new. The feeling on the racquet is a little bit more difficult."
No. 22 seed Dimitrov, usually in the spotlight for being Maria Sharapova's boyfriend rather than his tennis prowess, has done really well to get to the quarterfinals, upsetting Milos Raonic in the third round, before seeing off the challenge of Roberto Bautista Agut in round four on Monday.
"We all know that he [Nadal] has won tons of slams," Dimitrov said. "He's been a tremendous competitor. He's Rafa. We all know him.
"But, again, I just want to put myself up there, that's what I'm playing for, to put myself in position to play those guys. I had tough battles with him in the past. Played a couple times on clay. There were always little things missing.
"But I'm quite happy with the way I'm performing so far. So I like my chances."