By Jake Davies

  • Fabio Fognini vs Rafael Nadal [5]
  • Roger Federer [4] vs Nick Kyrgios [12]
MIAMI, USA – We are just two wins away from another Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal showdown as the Miami Open semi-final line-up beckons.

 

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Fabio Fognini vs Rafael Nadal [5] H2H: Nadal leads 7-3

Unseeded Fabio Fognini and No.5 seed Rafael Nadal will play for a spot in the 2017 Miami Open final as they meet for the 11th time and just for the fifth occasion on a hard court.

For Nadal, this season is all about finding the belief in his game and the confidence in his forehand, which is still something that is in work-in-progress even at this point of the season. The 14-time Grand Slam champion has overcome some difficult challenges throughout his Miami Open experience this year, including wins over Philipp Kohlschreiber, Jack Sock and Nicholas Mahut.

Fognini will fancy his chances in this match. He has had his number in a few of their matches in the past and has won some very important matches including the semi-final of the Rio Open, 2015 and who can forget the 2015 US Open match where the Italian won from two sets down in a dramatic match filled with quality.

I think Nadal comes into this match with the edge. He is in a far better head-space than he was for large periods of last season, but the main talking point will be whether an inspired Fognini will turn up in today’s semi-final. A focused Fognini is a difficult player to withstand, but Nadal’s base level of play is greater than the Italian.

Prediction: Nadal in three sets.

 

Roger Federer [4] vs Nick Kyrgios [12] H2H: Kyrgios leads 1-0

The Swiss is the most in-form player in 2017, which is incredible after six months away from the sport. Federer has lost just one match in 2017 and picked up a total of seventeen wins in process, claiming two singles titles at the Australian Open and in Indian Wells.

Federer has had some very impressive wins during his stay in Miami. He beat young up-and-comer Frances Tiafoe in the second round, Juan Martin Del Potro next and then came through a tough test against Roberto Bautista Agut. But the real challenge came in the quarter-final against longtime rival Tomas Berdych, where the Czech had two match points, but Federer still kept his winning run intact.

Nick Kyrgios, a defending Miami semi-finalist from last year, beat No.16 seed Alexander Zverev in a long, thrilling and eventful encounter to progress to this year’s semi-final.

The young Australian has shown no fear in his previous and only match against Federer, but there is a lot on the line, so much to play for in a Masters 1000 semi-final, so it should be fascinating to see how Kyrgios handles the spotlight in a relatively new surrounding against one of the game’s elite players.

Prediction: Federer in two sets

 

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