NADAL ON TRACK FOR FED­ERER BAT­TLE

Spa­niard out­plays Sock in last eight

New Straits Times - - Sport - RAFAEL NADAL

MI­AMI start of the sec­ond but was un­able to take ad­van­tage of a dou­ble break that could have put him 3-0 up.

In­stead Nadal pulled back to 2-2 and with Sock fail­ing to make the most of a chance of fur­ther break points it was com­fort­able in the end.3

The 30-year-old Spa­niard has never won in Mi­ami de­spite be­ing a four-time fi­nal­ist and he ex­pects plenty of work to get past Fognini and make it a fifth ap­pear­ance.

“We know each other very well. He has beaten me a cou­ple of times and so it will be a good test. I am happy to be in the semi­fi­nals but it will be a tough one and I will need to play my best,” said Nadal.

Fognini has three wins from 10 meet­ings with the Spa­niard, the most re­cent com­ing on clay in Rio de Janiero in 2015.

The 29-year-old World No 40 showed plenty of con­fi­dence as he took the game to his Ja­panese op­po­nent from the out­set.

It was the Ital­ian’s first vic­tory in three at­tempts over Nishikori

I am happy to be in the semi-fi­nals but it will be a tough one and I will need to play my best.

and his first Masters se­ries quar­ter-fi­nal win since 2013, when he reached the last four in Mon­teCarlo.

Nishikori ear­lier said he had not felt fully in top shape for the con­test.

“I wasn’t 100 per cent, phys­i­cally, I mean, it was tough con­di­tions for me,” he said, re­fer­ring to the heat on the mid-af­ter­noon Key Bis­cayne cen­tre court.

“But it was also same for him, too. He was play­ing a lot of the long matches, but I think he still played good enough to beat me to­day,” he added.

Fognini, who was cheered on by his friend, for­mer Italy foot­baller Chris­tian Vieri, said he had come through a de­mand­ing test.

“It wasn’t easy and I was just fo­cused on my game. I am very happy, I’m in the semi-fi­nal, I’m play­ing well and I feel good again on the court,” he said.

Fed­erer took on Czech tenth­seed To­mas Berdych late yes­ter­day while the last quar­ter-fi­nal pit­ted Ger­many’s Alexan­der Zverev against Aus­tralia’s Nick Kyr­gios. AFP

EPA PIC

Rafael Nadal in ac­tion against Jack Sock dur­ing their quar­ter­fi­nal in the Mi­ami Open on Wed­nes­day.

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