Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal could be headed for yet another showdown on Sunday as both advanced to the quarter final of the Miami Masters on Tuesday at Crandon Park. While Federer required two tie breaks against the Spaniard Roberto Bautista Agut, Nadal also was pushed by the Frenchman Nicholas Mahut.
Also advancing were the Americans Jack Sock, NextGen stars Nick Kyrgios of Australia and Alexander Zverev of Germany, Fabio Fognini of Italy, the 2016 finalist Kei Nishikori of Japan and the 2010 finalist Tomas Berdych of the Czech Republic. Federer and Nadal are in different half of the draw and will need to negotiate tough opposition if they are to clash for the third time in 2017 and for the 37th time in their career.
Federer takes on Berdych, while Nadal faces the lone American Jack Sock who is one of the three players to have won two titles in 2017. Roger Federer and Jo Wilfred Tsonga being the other players to have won two titles this year.
The second seeded Nishikori was the first on the Stadium court in the day session and took three sets to beat the left handed Argentine Federico Delbonis 6-3, 4-6, 6-3. Nishikori received court side treatment in the second set but regrouped in the third to set up a meeting with the explosive Italian Fabio Fognini who also beat another left hander, Donald Young of USA, in routine fashion 6-0, 6-4.
The fifth seeded Nadal required one hour and thirty five minutes to overcome the doubles specialist Nicholas Mahut before registering a 6-4, 7-6(4). He next faces the highest ranked American Jack Sock who won an all American battle against the qualifier Jared Donaldson 6-2, 6-1. Those matches in the bottom half of the draw will be played on Wednesday.
The fourth seeded Federer needed nearly two hours to improve to 6-0 against Roberto Bautista Agut on Tuesday before winning 7-6(5),7-6(4). Federer who won his 25th Masters series title earlier this month, stayed on course for a third Indian Wells and Miami double, a feat he has achieved in 2005 and 2006.
Bautista Agut failed to serve out the first set in the tenth game as he was broken to love. Next up is the tenth seeded Tomas Berdych of the Czech Republic who dismissed another left hander, Adrian Mannarino of France 6-3, 7-5. Federer leads Berdych 17-6, including a straight sets win at the Australian Open third round match, earlier this year.
The top seeded Stanislas Wawrinka was upset by the 19 year old German Alexander Zverev who came back from a set down, winning 12 of the final 15 games to claim a hard fought victory 4-6, 6-2, 6-1 in one hour and forty four minutes. He improves to 2-0 against Wawrinka having beaten him for his maiden title at the St. Petersburg Open in September last year.
Next up for Zverer is a rematch of the third round contest at Indian Wells against the fiery Australian Nick Kyrgios who beat the Belgian David Goffin 7-6(5),6-3 in one hour and 37 minutes. Kyrgios too improves to 2-0 against Goffin. The matches in the bottom half will be played on Thursday.
The following is the line in the quarter final with my pick mentioned first:-
Rafael Nadal (5) v. Jack Sock (13); Nadal leads 2-0 (YTD: Nadal 17-4, Sock 18-3)
Kei Nishikori (2) v. Fabio Fognini (-); Nishikori leads 2-0 (YTD: Nishikori 15-5, Fognini 11-6)
Roger Federer (4) v. Tomas Berdych (10) ; Federer leads 17-6 (YTD Federer 16-1, Berdych 13-5)
Nick Kyrgios (12) v. Alexander Zverev (16); Kyrgios leads 1-0 (YTD: Zverev 11-5, Kyrgios 13-3)
– Rasesh Mehta [Rasesh Mehta is an analyst with the Tennis Galaxy. You can reach him at the email: firstname.lastname@example.org]