The implacable Rafael Nadal knocks out Marin Cilic of the US Open

NEW YORK: Rafael Nadal he faced his toughest challenge so far United States Open but he raised his game to beat Marin Cilic 6-3, 3-6, 6-1, 6-2 on Monday and continue their search for a fourth Flushing Meadows title.

The second Spanish seed was in cruise control while taking the first set behind excellent service and a robust defense, but the Croatian of great impact struggled to snatch the second.

That was as good as it would be for Cilic, however, the momentum changed decisively in favor of Nadal when he jumped into the air to hit a spectacular air crash that electrified the crowd.

Cilic would commit a double foul later in the game to give Nadal a 3-1 lead and would never threaten again on a hot, wet night in New York, with Tiger Woods among the crowded crowd at the Arthur Ashe Stadium cheering. To Spanish.

Nadal dismissed a right-wing winner at the match point to seal the victory and reach his 40 quarterfinals at a Grand Slam event.

For a few moments in the second set I felt there were too many points in his hands, Nadal said.

I was pushing back ... after the (second) set I thought something had to change.

The 33-year-old has had a relatively stress-free time in the tournament so far, losing only one set and achieving a walkover in the second round.

The next thing for the 18-time Grand Slam champion is a meeting with Argentine Diego Schwartzman, who knocked down Alexander Zverev in his round of 16 clash earlier in the day.

Nadal is in the process of collision with third seeded Roger Federer and could face his former rival in Sunday's final if both players advance. Federer faces Grigor Dimitrov in the rooms on Tuesday.