PHOTOS: Rafael Nadal beats Nicolas Mahut to reach last eight in Miami

Rafael Nadal advanced to the quarter-finals of the Miami Open following a routine straight set win over Nicolas Mahut on Tuesday.

Rafa was simply too good for Mahut, taking never facing a breakpoint in his 6-4, 7-6(4) win on the hard courts of Miami.

Rafa put together a near perfect display, notching up 26 winners and just 11 unforced errors and was easily able to counter Mahut’s serve and volley game plan.

The opening set was a tight one, with neither earning a breakpoint until the ninth game, where an error gave Rafa an opportunity. Rafa did not need a second invitation and broke to go 5-4 up, after which he served out the set in dominant fashion.

The second set unfolded in a similar vein, with the duo swapping service games until the tiebreaker. But as per usual, Rafa was superb in the big moments and moved to a 5-2 lead before taking the set and the match.

Rafa will face rising star Jack Sock in the quarter-finals.

Source: Fox News


PHOTOS: Rafael Nadal enjoys a win in his 1000th career match

Rafael Nadal celebrated his 1,000th tour level match with a come-from-behind victory over German veteran Philipp Kohlschreiber to reach the fourth round of the Miami Open on Sunday.

World number 31 Kohlschreiber was on fire early, ripping through the first set in only 21 minutes but Rafa flipped the switch and turned the match on its head to prevail 0-6 6-2 6-3 on the main stadium hard court at Crandon Park.

It was the first time Rafa had failed to win a game in the first set of an ATP tour match since 2008, the ATP said.

Rafa ignited the near-capacity crowd with a typically determined comeback to clinch his 822nd career victory. He joins a small group of 11 players headed by Jimmy Connors (1,535) to have played at least 1,000 matches.

One thousand matches is a lot of matches. Obviously that’s good news because that says I am having a long career. During a lot of years, I heard that I’m going to have a short career, so it’s something important for me. I remember the first match very well because it was at home in Mallorca. It was my first victory on the ATP and was a great feeling.

Rafa said he had not done much wrong in the first set against an opponent who was in the zone.

He was doing everything good, so that’s sport. I lose the set because he was playing too good. That’s it. But a match is long and the positive thing is I held the pressure well this afternoon after a very tough first set. I resisted well in the first few games of the second set and then I think I played a great second and third set.

Source: Reuters

PHOTOS: Rafael Nadal beats Dudi Sela to race into third round of Miami Open

(AP) – Rafael Nadal’s first fist pump Friday followed his second point in the Miami Open, when he kissed a forehand off the sideline to win a long rally.

He accompanied the celebratory gesture with a skip in his step and then hit the accelerator, holding every service game to beat Dudi Sela 6-3, 6-4.

Thus began Rafa’s latest bid to win Key Biscayne.

“A lot of big motivation,” he said.

He is playing the tournament for the 13th time and has never won it, although he was the runner-up in 2005, 2008, 2010 and 2014. At 0-for-12, it’s Rafa’s longest drought at any event and perhaps the most glaring gap in the 14-time Grand Slam champion’s resume.

Does it bug him? He won’t admit to any frustration but let slip that he still remembers the exact score when he was two points from the title in the third set versus Novak Djokovic.

That was six years ago.

“Against Novak — 6-5, 15-30,” Rafa said. “It didn’t happen.”

The Spaniard has always enjoyed the atmosphere in Miami, where Latin fans give him enthusiastic support, and he likes the tournament’s hard courts. He’s simply overdue.

“I’m trying my best every year,” Rafa told the stadium crowd after dispatching Sela. “I’ve been very close four times. I will try to give myself another chance.”

Source: AP

Rafael Nadal loses to Roger Federer in Indian Wells fourth round

Photo by Matt Hazlett/BNP Paribas Open

(AP) — Rafael Nadal fell to Roger Federer 2-6, 3-6 in the fourth round of the BNP Paribas Open, an ATP Masters 1000 event in Indian Wells.

Federer broke Rafa to open the match in front of a packed Stadium 1 crowd. Federer faced just one break point on his serve in the match, but he recovered with a big serve and two winning backhands to go up 2-0 in the first set.

“The main thing he take the break in the first game, and I had break point in the next game and come back and he had a good serve,” Rafa said. “When Roger has the advantage, his serve is so good, he has a lot of confidence with his serve, he’s able to play much more relaxed.”

Rafa wasn’t too shabby either, serving three love games. But Federer’s shotmaking was superb, frequently kissing the lines off both sides.

The four-time Indian Wells winner was crafty, too. Leading 5-1, Federer moved in quickly on Rafa’s second serve, surprising the Spaniard, whose forehand sailed long. Federer’s drop shots were well-timed and even when a scrambling Rafa got to them in time, Federer answered with one of his 26 winners.

The two superstars hadn’t played each other before the quarterfinals of an event since 2004 when they met in the third round at Miami. Wednesday’s match was just the fifth time they weren’t opposing each other in a final.

Source: AP

Rafael Nadal beats Fernando Verdasco to reach Indian Wells fourth round

The fifth seed and three-time champion Rafael Nadal set up the prospect of an Australian Open final replay with Roger Federer at Indian Wells after cruising past Fernando Verdasco 6-3 7-5 on Tuesday.

A succession of trademark crisp, powerful forehands from the 30-year-old immediately put Verdasco on the back foot, and when Rafa applied pressure he gained the crucial break.

Another near-perfect service game from Rafa wrapped up the set in 31 minutes, but the second was far from comfortable as Verdasco rallied.

Errors began to creep into Rafa’s game, too many shots dropping into the net which gave Verdasco confidence – even though he continued to complain about glare off the stands at one end.

However, that drained away late on as a costly double fault gave Rafa the chance to serve for the match, an opportunity he duly took to record a 16th win over Verdasco in 19 meetings.

A clash with Federer awaits Rafa in round four, but only if the Swiss can overcome big-serving American Steve Johnson later on Tuesday.

Source: Yahoo 

Indian Wells: Rafa and Bernie advance into the second round of doubles [PHOTOS, VIDEO]

Rafael Nadal and Bernard Tomic advanced to the second round of BNP Paribas Open tournament in the doubles competition. They beat Pablo Carreno Busta and Joao Sousa 6-4, 7-6(7) in one hour and 33 minutes.

Rafa and Bernie, playing together for the first time, let slip three match points at 6/3 in the tie-break, but regrouped to convert their fourth opportunity after one hour and 33 minutes. They will face either Goffin/Tsonga or Klaasen/Ram next.

If you somehow missed it, or just want to watch it again, HERE it is!

Rafa will play his first round singles match against Guido Pella on Sunday.

Source: BNP Paribas Open

Rafa loses Acapulco final

Rafael Nadal’s run at the Mexican Open in Acapulco is over as he lost 3-6, 6-7(3) to Sam Querrey in the final.

The American served 19 aces and did not face a break point in the opening set. Rafa fought back in the second set but failed to convert any of his six break point opportunities.

After the match, Rafa said:

He played very well, almost reaching perfection. I played under a lot of pressure because of his serve and baseline game. He left me with very few options, and the few I had he also played good. I have to congratulate him. I’m also very happy with my week and my game.(via AP)

Our champ is still seeking his first title of 2017, having also finished runner-up at the Australian Open. His next tournament is Indian Wells.

Win or lose, always with Rafa!