MELBOURNE, Jan 21: Ruthless Caroline Wozniacki kicked into full gear today to storm into the Australian Open quarterfinals where she will pit her wits against experienced Spaniard Carla Suarez Navarro.
On an overcast and muggy day at Melbourne Park, the world number two turned on the style to take another step towards a maiden Grand Slam title.
The assured Dane, a semifinalist in 2011 who has never quite lived up to the hype in the majors, annihilated 19th-seeded Magdalena Rybarikova 6-3, 6-0 on Rod Laver Arena in her most impressive performance to date.
�She really mixes up the pace, I just tried to calm down, get my returns in and wait for the opportunities to attack,� she said after crushing the Slovak, who made the semifinals at Wimbledon last year.
�I think you can tell my confidence is pretty good at the moment.�
Her easy passage sets up a last eight clash with the gritty Suarez Navarro, who battled back from a set and 4-1 down to shatter the hopes of 32nd seed Anett Kontaveit.
The Estonian had been bubbling with confidence after despatching French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko in the third round, but nerves got the better of her.
The Spaniard, who has made the quarterfinals in Melbourne twice before, most recently in 2016, credited her fightback with a conscious decision to be more aggressive.
�I was thinking that I was playing good, but not too aggressive. I want to play like this, but sometimes you cannot,� said Suarez Navarro, one of the few who still use a one-handed backhand.
�My team all the time they say me, play aggressive, play aggressive. That�s I think what I did.�
Looking ahead to Wozniacki, she added: �I know how she plays. I know how tough she is. It will be a really interesting match.�
On the other hand, Spain�s Rafael Nadal fought off tenacious Argentine Diego Schwartzman to win and ensure himself a quarterfinal berth.
Nadal was taken to four gruelling sets in almost four hours before winning 6-3, 6-7 (4/7), 6-3, 6-3 on Rod Laver Arena.
It will be his 10th Australian Open quarterfinal appearance, second only to Roger Federer, and he will face Croatia�s sixth seed Marin Cilic. Nadal leads 5-1 in their previous meetings.
It was the Spaniard�s fourth win over the Argentine but his toughest after beating him in straight sets in the second round at the 2015 US Open.
By winning Nadal ensured that he will remain No. 1 when the new rankings are released the day after the Open ends.
�Of course, I feel little bit tired, but yeah good. I was able to keep fighting until the end,� he said.
�It is the first big match I played in 2018. I started later than usual so a match like this probably helps because you know that helps confidence in myself.
�That�s confidence knowing that I can resist almost four hours on court playing at a good intensity.�
Croatia�s Marin Cilic won his 100th Grand Slam match as he mastered Spain�s Pablo Carreno Busta in four sets to reach the quarterfinals.
The former US Open champion won the big points in putting away the 10th seed 6-7 (2/7), 6-3, 7-6 (7/0), 7-6 (7/3) in 3hr 27min on Margaret Court Arena.
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 main draw. � Agencies