Miami Open: Nadal beats Sock, to face Fognini in semifinal

Rafael Nadal could meet Roger Federer in the final, if both sail through their respective quarter and semifinal clashes.

Rafael Nadal's poise and shot-making came to the fore when 13th seed Jack Sock threatened to take a stranglehold on the second set.   -  Twitter

Rafael Nadal moved into the Miami Open semifinals with a straight sets win over American Jack Sock on Wednesday, while second seed Kei Nishikori was sent packing after going down 6-4, 6-2 to unseeded Italian Fabio Fognini.

Nadal staved off four break points to avoid going down a double-break early in the second set, a pivotal game that set the stage for his 6-2, 6-3 victory on the Crandon Park hardcourt.

Nadal's poise and shot-making came to the fore when 13th seed Sock threatened to take a stranglehold on the second set.

“That was the key of the second set, two-love (down)”, 15-40, Nadal said in a courtside interview. “With three-zero a player like Jack, you’ll probably be thinking third set.”

“It was a double positive thing. I saved that game and got the break back (in the next game). The match was much closer than the result says.”

Nadal could face his long-time nemesis Federer in the final, with the Swiss, who has a Thursday quarterfinal against Tomas Berdych, on the other side of the draw.

Federer and Nadal have met twice this year, with Federer winning both times, in a memorable five-set final at the Australian Open and in a one-sided straight-sets fourth-round thumping at Indian Wells two weeks ago.

But, Nadal is not looking ahead to Federer, because his semifinal opponent Fognini presents a potential banana skin. Nadal has a 7-3 career record but is mindful he lost to the Italian in a five-set thriller on the U.S. Open hardcourt in 2015.

“Its like a dream maybe,” said the 29-year-old Fognini after becoming the first unseeded player in 10 years to make the Miami semis.

“This is a big, big tournament for me. I’m happy about my performance. I’m just trying to be focused on my game and do my best.”