Rafael Nadal reaches Key Biscayne final for 5th time

Apr 02, 2017, 00:49

Earlier in the day, Rafael Nadal improved to a 8-3 record against Fabio Fognini, swatting aside the Italian in their semifinal clash without much fuss to reach his 5th Miami Open final.

The 18-time Grand Slam victor has made an unbelievable start to the season and has now won 10 matches in a row, as he looks to add this title to a 2017 trophy haul that already includes the Australian Open and Indian Wells.

"Winning here would be something great, and an important title I haven't won", Nadal said, referring to four previous losses in Miami finals.

"I had belief I could turn it around, even then", he said. 7-6 (5) victory for the Swiss marked the second time that the pair have played three sets of tiebreakers in a match.

The Italian came to life in the second set, including a stretch where he erased five break points during his first two service games.

Meanwhile, Kyrgios - who was booed by the Miami crowd throughout - added: "I feel like my level of tennis has always been high, but mentally I'm competing for every point now".

In these last two victories, Federer has peppered Nadal's forehand and taken his deliveries very quickly thereby unsettling the Spaniard. "I think I have to win a few more matches to earn that".

The 18-time Grand Slam champion was locked in a fierce battle with Kyrgios, where all three sets went to a tie-break, and eventually emerged from a gruelling encounter with a 7-6, 6-7, 7-6 win after three hours and 10 minutes.

Video: Kyrgios' tweener vs FedererCan Kyrgios become the world's best player?

"I fought and Tomas definitely started to step it up, but it was a great match at the end".

Rafael Nadal of Spain in action against Fabio Fognini of Italy in the semi finals at Crandon Park Tennis Center on March 31, 2017 in Key Biscayne, Florida.

Kyrgios and Federer continued to hold serve throughout the second set, forcing the pair into another tiebreaker. He needed 92 - and after coming up with big shot after big shot in the final two sets, he wound up going out on a double-fault. He'll get another crack at it against his longtime rival Federer in Sunday's final. Thus, while Federer dictated the terms of play against Nadal in those two tournaments, benefiting from speedier courts, the slowness in the court speed will favour the Spaniard, who will have more time for his shot-placement.

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