Are Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal headed for another final collision? It looks that way in Miami where the two Hall of Fame legends continued to play up to their credentials.
Today in fourth round action Federer held off an in-form Roberto Bautista Agut in two tiebreakers 7-6(5), 7-6(4) to notch his 16th win in 17 tries this season.
“I felt good overall. It was a different kind of match,” said Federer who was broken twice in the match. “It wasn’t the big-serving match where you’re only going to see so many looks, so when you miss chances you always feel a bit frustrated sometimes. That’s where you got to keep a positive mindset and make the right plays.
“I thought Roberto did a good job of making shots, staying offensive when he could, fending off a lot of good shots that I hit. Then it was tough. The sun was coming from the side in the beginning so it’s hard to chase the lines. At the end I’m very happy and pleased that I got it done in straight sets.”
Next for Federer is a Thursday date with Tomas Berdych. The Czech, who made the Miami finals in 2010, had no trouble dismantling Adrian Mannarino 6-3, 7-5.
Nadal also was tested by Nicolas Mahut but prevailed 6-4, 7-6(4). Rafa, who has finished runner-up in Miami four times, never lost his serve or faced a break point. And he returns tomorrow against Jack Sock, who blew out countryman Jared Donaldson 6-2, 6-1.
Nadal won both meetings over Sock in 2015 but the American managed to grab sets in both.
“He’s a very aggressive player, very powerful player, big serve, big forehand, and a good backhand, too,” Nadal said of Sock. ‘He plays quick with his backhand.So I need to play aggressive. That’s the only way. If I let him play in a comfortable position it’s going to be impossible for me. So I need to be focus with my serve, but at the same time I need to be aggressive.”
Sock’s appearing in his first Miami quarterfinal and it’s his fourth straight at the Masters level.
Also tomorrow, Kei Nishikori will battle Fabio Fognini. Nishikori outlasted Federico Delbonis 6-3, 4-6, 6-3. Nishikori, a finalist a year ago, has now won 15 of his last 17 matches in Miami. Fognini ousted Donald Young 6-0, 6-4 to reach his first Miami quarterfinal.
And in the big upset of the day, 19-year-old Alexander Zverev knocked off top seed Stan Wawrinka 4-6, 6-2, 6-1 to earn a berth in his first Miami quarterfinal.
“I had to be aggressive. I felt like he was the one controlling all the points all the time, so I had to change that. It worked out well for me. Happy to be in the quarter-finals now. Hopefully I can play as great as I did today,” Zverev said.
The win was Zverev’s second in as many tries against the Swiss.
“Both times I played him I played very high confidence and I played very well,” Zverev said. “I think we both have one of the best backhands on tour, both of us, so that maybe helps me a little bit. He likes to use that corner a lot on the opponent.”
Added Wawrinka, “One bad game to start the second set and then it was tough for me… I completely went down physically and mentally, and also my tennis was completely out. I had no more gas.”
Zverev now gets a rematch with Nick Kyrgios who beat David Goffin 7-6(5), 6-3 in a matchup of 2016 Miami semifinalists. Kyrgios beat Zverev earlier this month at Indian Wells.
WEDNESDAY MIAMI SCHEDULE
STADIUM start 10:45 am
WTA – A. Klepac (SLO) / M. Martínez Sánchez (ESP) vs  Y. Chan (TPE) / M. Hingis (SUI)
WTA –  S. Halep (ROU) vs  J. Konta (GBR)
Not Before 3:00 pm
ATP – F. Fognini (ITA) vs  K. Nishikori (JPN)
WTA –  A. Kerber (GER) vs  V. Williams (USA)
Not Before 9:00 pm
ATP –  R. Nadal (ESP) vs  J. Sock (USA)
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