Tiafoe to meet Nadal in Open quarters

Frances Tiafoe has powered into the quarter-finals at the Australian Open.
Frances Tiafoe has powered into the quarter-finals at the Australian Open.

American showman Frances Tiafoe has celebrated his 21st birthday in style with an emotional four-set win over Grigor Dimitrov at the Australian Open, setting up a dream quarter-final against Rafael Nadal.

Tiafoe overcame a third-set blip to beat the Bulgarian No.20 seed 7-5 7-6 (8-6) 6-7 (1-7) 7-5 on Sunday.

The American celebrated in trademark style, removing his shirt and screaming loudly, before slapping his right bicep, chest and the court in delight.

"It means the world - I've busted my arse man," said Tiafoe.

"I told my parents 10 years ago was going to be a pro ... that I was going to do this and change their lives."

The reward is a last-eight showdown on Tuesday with 17-time major winner Nadal, who trounced Czech veteran Tomas Berdych 6-0 6-1 7-6 (7-4) in the fourth round.

"I can't do anything (to celebrate my birthday tonight) - he's going to run me like crazy," said Tiafoe.

"(But) he'd better be ready."

The 2019 Open has been a grand-slam coming of age for Tiafoe, who had only won five of his previous 16 matches at major level.

Nadal won his sole Australian Open title a decade ago and has been a losing finalist at Melbourne Park on three other occasions.

He breezed through the opening two sets of his fourth-round clash with Berdych but had to work much harder in the third, saving a set point in the 12th game before clinching the match in a tiebreak.

Berdych, a two-time semi-finalist at Melbourne Park in 2014 and 2015, spent six months on the sidelines last year with a back injury.

Nadal is also on the comeback trail, playing his first official tournament since withdrawing midway through his US Open semi-final in September with knee soreness.

"It's going to be the first time we've played each other," said Nadal of the impending last-eight clash with Tiafoe.

"He's playing great; he's super quick.

"It's always special when you meet an opponent for the first time."

Australian Associated Press