Tiger Woods watches Rafael Nadal deliver an 'incredible performance' at US Open

But the three-time champion quickly shrugged it off to march into the last eight, with a stunning around-the-net victor bringing up match point to the delight of an Arthur Ashe crowd which included Nadal's friend Tiger Woods.

Woods was up out of his seat to cheer for Nadal during the match and the golf superstar even took his signature fist bump from the grass to the stands.

The shot brought up match point and he promptly sealed his 61st win at the US Open - with a 6-3, 3-6, 6-1, 6-2 scoreline - to make the quarter-final at his ninth consecutive Grand Slam.

The 18-time Grand Slam champion advanced to the quarter-final of a major for the 40th time in his glittering career with a 6-3, 3-6, 6-1, 6-2 defeat of Croatia's Marin Cilic. Tiger Woods did the same in the stands.

"I think it is a huge honour, playing in front of this crowd, but also playing in front of Tiger is very special", he said.

'I always said I never had big idols, but if I had to say one, one idol is him.

An animated Woods was on his feet, clenching his fist when the Spaniard came back from a second set slump to make his 40thGrand Slam quarterfinals, where he'll play the 20th-seed Diego Schwartzman. "As I said, he's an awesome inspiration, all the things that he accomplish in the sport, the way that he managed to keep fighting that hard", Nadal said. "(To) have him supporting and be able to be in touch with him very often for me is something that I am super happy and I hope one day we can play golf and tennis together".

Nadal posted a picture of himself and Woods on Instagram following the match.

"The emotions I have when I play here are impossible to describe".

"I always try to follow him, every single shot that he hit the whole year", Nadal said, bringing a smile to Woods's face. He has come out to the U.S. Open to cheer on Nadal in the past and a year ago Woods sat in Serena Williams' player's box at Wimbledon with Herman.

"It is much better if Tiger doesn't see my swing". "Maybe he can lose a little bit of rhythm after that".

The 18-times grand slam champion reached his ninth quarter-final in NY and 40th at a major, with Argentine 20th seed Diego Schwartzman his next opponent.

"He is playing incredible, nothing new, he's one of the players with best talent on tour", Nadal said of his upcoming opponent. "It made me a stronger person, better player".

He added: "So after that second set, I just thought that something needed to change because if it doesn't then whether or not I win the match, I will be in his hands".

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