'Absolutely insane': Rafael Nadal stuns US Open with 'unbelievable' act

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Rafael Nadal has left the tennis world in shock with an insane winner in his US Open victory over Marin Cilic.

In the final game of his 6-3 3-6 6-1 6-2 fourth-round victory on Monday, Nadal produced a spectacular around-the-net winner that he had absolutely no right to pull off.

‘WHAT IN THE WORLD’: Nadal goes missing in bizarre disappearing act

Cilic appeared to have sewn up the point with a precise backhand volley, but Nadal somehow tracked it down before hitting a forehand around the net and landing it in.

Rafael Nadal, pictured here making his insane winner at the US Open.
Rafael Nadal hit an insane winner around the net. Image: Getty/ESPN

Nadal exploded with triumph as the US Open crowd - including Tiger Woods - roared with delight.

Fans leapt to their feet in a standing ovation that actually delayed the next point.

"It's easy to describe and difficult to make!” Nadal said in his on-court interview.

“I followed the ball and it was a good volley. I ran fast and saw at the last moment a small space and it was the only way to win the point.

“I hit that one well but of course, you need some luck."

Social media was awash with shocked fans, with some labelling the shot ‘disgusting’ and ‘insane’.

Nadal on track for Federer epic

It's been 15 years in the making but Nada and Roger Federer are hurtling towards a box-office first-time showdown at the US Open.

A night after titleholder and world No.1 Novak Djokovic quit with a shoulder injury to open the door for his two great rivals, Nadal joined Federer in the last eight.

A finalist in three of the four grand slams and triumphant at Flushing Meadows in 2014, Cilic threatened to crash the party after taking the second set against Nadal on Monday night.

But the relentless Spaniard rallied like only he can to chisel out victory after two hours and 48 minutes to reach his 40th grand slam quarter-final - and ninth in America.

Nadal and Federer are now within a pair of wins each of finally clashing on the sport's biggest stage at Arthur Ashe Stadium in what would complete the set of grand slam finals between the sport's most enduring rivals.

Rafael Nadal, pictured here after his crazy shot at the US Open.
Rafael Nadal went nuts after his epic shot. Image: Getty

The two tennis titans have duelled on 40 occasions since first squaring off in Miami in 2004, including 12 times at grand slam level, most recently in this year's French Open semi-finals.

They have played for the title twice in Australia, four times in Paris and in three Wimbledon finals but never before in New York, let alone in the championship decider.

But now only four men - including one fellow grand slam champion - stand in the way of the blockbuster final the entire tennis world wants to see.

Second-seeded Nadal will carry a seven-from-seven record against Diego Schwartzman into their quarter-final on Wednesday.

The Spaniard also boasts a dominant 14-2 winning record of Gael Monfils and has never played his other respective semi-final opponent, first-time grand slam quarter-finalist Matteo Berrettini.

Rafael Nadal, pictured here in action at the US Open.
Rafael Nadal celebrates. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

Federer, the third seed, is 7-0 against his quarter-final rival, Grigor Dimitrov, and would be a hot favourite to win a semi-final against fellow Swiss and three-times major champion Stan Wawrinka or upstart Daniil Medvedev.

The 20-times grand slam champion's only three losses in 26 meetings with Wawrinka have come on clay, while Federer has beaten Medvedev all three times they've met.

Schwartzman's date with destiny with Nadal came after an extraordinary 17 double-faults from sixth seed Alexander Zverev gift-wrapped the South American a 3-6 6-2 6-4 6-3 victory.

Berrettini, the 24th seed, roared through to the last eight of a slam for the first time with a 6-1 6-4 7-6 (8-6) win over Nick Kyrgios's third-round slayer Andrey Rublev.

The unseeded Russian had also taken out world No.8 Stefanos Tsitsipas but Berrettini's 37 winners proved too much.

US OPEN MEN'S QUARTER-FINAL MATCH-UPS

23-StanWawrinka (SUI) v 5-Daniil Medvedev (RUS)

3-Roger Federer (SUI) v Grigor Dimitrov (BUL)

24-Matteo Berrettini (ITA) v 13-Gael Monfils (FRA)

20-Diego Schwartzman (ARG) v 2-Rafael Nadal (ESP)

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