By Justin Ross
In today’s Miami Open action, the first men’s singles semifinals matchup was determined. Fabio Fognini will battle Rafael Nadal.
In doubles play, both semifinals matchups were finalized. It will be an all-American clash of Jack Sock and Nicholas Monroe against the Bryan brothers. The other match will see Daniel Nestor and Brian Baker take on the team of Lukasz Kubot and Marcelo Melo.
First, Fognini defeated world No. 4 Kei Nishikori 6-4, 7-5, making him the first Italian to reach the semis in Miami. An Italian player has never won an ATP Masters 1000 event.
Despite entering the tournament with just seven wins in 2017, Fognini becomes the first unseeded player since 2007 to reach the semis in Miami after he dismissed his foe in just 68 minutes.
“At the moment, I'm just happy. Of course, it's a big, big tournament for me at the moment; feeling really good on court and other times, so this is the best thing that we can have this week,” said the Italian. “Happy about my performance. Of course, the result, it's positive. It's like a dream maybe.”
Fognini’s road to the semis includes wins over Ryan Harrison, Donald Young, Jeremy Chardy and Joao Sousa. Fognini’s victory marked his first win against a top 5 opponent since he defeated Nadal in 2015.
After the match, Nishikori said he wasn’t 100 percent. The Japanese native is now 2-1 in meetings with Fognini, and he will have three weeks to recover before he competes in Barcelona.
In the night session, Nadal defeated the last remaining American male in Jack Sock 6-2, 6-3.
Sock entered with an 18-3 record on the season, including four wins over his last five top 10 opponents. Nadal moves to 3-0 in head-to-head play against Sock, but the American will still have something to play for as he competes in the semis of the doubles draw.
Nadal took a quick first-set win, but it looked like Sock had an answer when he captured a 2-0 game lead in the second set. He was nearing a 3-0 lead until Nadal stole the game to make it 2-1. This changed the momentum drastically. Nadal went from down 0-2 to up 5-2, and Sock simply could not recover.
The Spaniard’s road to the semis includes wins over Nicolas Mahut, Philipp Kohlschreiber and Dudi Sela. After the match, Nadal talked about his next opponent:
"I'm excited about play that semifinals match against a player who's playing very, very well during the whole week. Going to be a tough one. I need to play my best, keep playing aggressive like I did today, and hope to have my chances.," he said.
Nadal holds a 7-3 record in head-to-head meetings with Fognini. Their last contest was a 2016 showdown in Spain that Nadal took by a score of 6-2, 7-6(1).
In doubles action, Nestor and Baker secured their semifinals slot with a win over Alex Peya and Philipp Petzschner 6-3, 5-7, 10-3. This contest was followed up by Kubot and Melo who defeated the team of Jamie Murray and Bruno Soares 2-6, 6-3, 10-8.
Rounding out the day were the Bryan brothers, who took down the Croatian team of Marin Cilic and Nikola Mektic 6(4)-7, 6-4, 11-9.
The world No. 1 doubles ranking is set to change on Monday, with one of the Bryan brothers or Henri Kontinen gaining the position. Nicolas Mahut, the current No. 1 holder, has held the seed for every week since July of 2016. Unless the Bryan brothers win the title, Kontinen will become the first Finnish player to rank No. 1.
In Thursday’s quarterfinals action, Roger Federer will battle Tomas Berdych, while Nick Kyrgios squares off with Alex Zverev.
Check out the full results here: http://miamiopen.com/live-scoring-2017
Check out the schedule of match play here: http://miamiopen.com/2017-draws-and-order-of-play
Tickets for the annual event start at $12 for youth and $15 for adults. A group rate of $7 is also available for 20 or more and grant access to all day session matches. Tickets are on sale now, for more information go to www.miamiopen.com or call the Miami Open ticket office at 305-442-3367.
The 2017 Miami Open is scheduled for March 20 – April 2 and will once again be the hottest ticket in town. With ticket packages starting at just $136 and individual sessions starting at $20 the Miami Open will be the place-to-be.