Rafael Nadal battled through his last-16 match with Grigor Dimitrov at the Western and Southern Open, to set up a quarter-final showdown with old rival Roger Federer in Cincinnati.
The Spaniard held off a spirited challenge from the promising 22-year-old to claim a 6-2, 5-7, 6-2 victory and move into the last eight of the ATP Masters series event in Ohio.
Nadal was made to work for the win as Dimitrov threatened an upset, but the 27-year-old was strong enough to record his twelfth successive hardcourt win.
"Always play against Roger is a special feeling," said Nadal.
"We have a great history behind us in our confrontations, so it's another quarter-finals. It's a special one because you're playing against a very special player. Our matches were very special always. But, again, it's a quarter-finals match, not the final, so that's a big difference."
The fourth seed has been in great form since his return to action, with many doubting his ability to play at the top level after his shock defeat to Steve Darcis in the first round of Wimbledon in June.
But since then he has looked back to his best, winning the Rodgers Cup in Montreal last Sunday, defeating Milos Raonic in straight sets.
Tomas Berdych also made it through to the quarter-finals, with his victory over Tommy Robredo setting up a tie reigning Wimbledon and US Open champion Andy Murray.
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