Rafael Nadal is racing toward a first Sony Open Miami title. The World No. 1 has looked dominant in two matches easily beating Lleyton Hewitt 61, 63 in the first round and then yesterday he hammered Denis Istomin 61, 60.
“No mistakes, serving with good percentage, and playing a lot of winners,” Nadal said yesterday. “My movements were better than what I did last event events.”
Rafa’s win sets up a fourth round clash today with Fabio Fognini. Nadal leads the flashy Italian 3-0 winning all three last year. Even so, Rafa is cautious ahead of the meeting.
“He’s an opponent, very uncomfortable opponent,” Nadal said. “He’s an opponent that is playing great. He has an amazing talent. Great forehand, great backhand, especially the forehand, but he’s able to hit winners from every part of the court.
“So he’s an opponent sometimes that can be unpredictable, and is difficult to play against these kind of players ‑ especially when they are playing well and Fognini is playing well.”
Nadal is a 3-time finalist in Miami – 2005 (l. to Federer), 2008 (l. to Davydenko) and 2011 (l. to Djokovic).
Fognini is 3-28 lifetime against top 10 opponents and 0-2 this year. His last top 10 win came in Monte Carlo last year when he posted back-to-back wins over No. 6 Berdych and No. 9 Gasquet.
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