Murray gets ready to face wrath of Rafa

The easy part is over for Andy Murray. The Australian Open is about to get a whole lot tougher for the great hope of British tennis.

Murray coasted through his first four matches without dropping a set but his quarter-final opponent in Tuesday's feature night match presents a much bigger challenge.

By his own incredible standards, Rafa Nadal is not at his best. The Spaniard has struggled with injuries since winning last year's Australian Open and is only just regaining his confidence.

There have been plenty of indicators to suggest he is getting back to his old form and his clash with Murray could be a watershed for both men.

"I think I am okay," Nadal said. "But I have to play better next match if I really want to have chances to win.

"Andy is one of the more difficult players to play against. I have to play my best tennis."

Nadal has won five of his previous seven meetings with Murray but the Scotsman is not without hope. Nadal has won just one of his last 11 matches against players ranked in the top 10.

"I'm playing well, there's no question about that," said Murray, the only player in the top five yet to win a grand slam title.

"I'm happy to have won the matches comfortably. I know the match against Rafa is going to be difficult, but I think I can win."

The winner of that match will advance to the semi-finals against either American Andy Roddick or Croatia's Marin Cilic.

Their match, also scheduled for Tuesday, is shaping as a battle of the fittest after both were pushed all the way in their fourth round encounters.

Cilic upset Argentina's US Open champion Juan Martin del Potro in five sets while Roddick also went the full distance before wearing down Chile's Fernando Gonzalez.

Roddick and Cilic have played each other twice before, winning one apiece, but the American said those matches would have no bearing on their next clash.

"I don't think we can put much stock into our previous meetings," Roddick said.

"I remember I played him at Queen's a long time ago, he played pretty badly. Then I played him in Canada, and I played pretty badly."

Justine Henin's comeback to professional tennis is building momentum but she faces a tricky quarter-final against Russia's Nadia Petrova, the only seed left in the bottom half of the women's draw.

Petrova made it through to the last eight with back-to-back wins over US Open champion Kim Clijsters and French Open champion Svetlana Kuznetsova and is in the best form of her career but it remains to be seen how seasoned Henin is.

The Belgian won seven grand slam singles titles before her shock retirement in 2008 and has lost none of her skill or determination but her body is aching.

"It's only my second tournament (back)," she said.

"Of course, I have dreams. I'll try to go as far as possible. If it's till the end, it would be amazing but it's still too early to talk about that."

Awaiting the winner of that match is either China's Zheng Jie or Russia's Maria Kirilenko.

Zheng made the semi-finals at Wimbledon two years ago while Kirilenko, like Petrova, has been something of a giantkiller, beating both Maria Sharapova and Dinara Safina on her way to the quarters.

Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

Time to play God

Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

MacGyver returns, but with a difference

Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

Tunnel renaissance

Why cities are hiding roads underground
'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

Boys to men

The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

Crufts 2015

Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
10 best projectors

How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

Monaco: the making of Wenger

Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

Homage or plagiarism?

'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower