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Nadal Toasts Federer to Book His Spot in the Sony Ericsson Open Final

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Nadal Toasts Federer to Book His Spot in the Sony Ericsson Open Final

The much anticipated semifinal bout between Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer at the Sony Ericsson Open failed to live up to expectation. In a one sided contest, Nadal destroyed Federer 6-3, 6-2 to advance to the final.

Nadal drew first blood in the first set. With Federer’s forehand up the line going wide, the Spaniard had double break point. Then, when Federer pushed a backhand into the net, Nadal had the break for 2-1.

Nadal consolidated easily for 3-1. Later, with Federer serving at 3-5, a litany of errors resulted in Nadal breaking for the second time to seal the opening set.

In the second set, with Nadal netting a backhand, Federer had his first break point of the night. However, with a net court winner off an overhead, Nadal was at deuce. Nadal went on to capture the game.

Subsequently, with a backhand down the line pass for a winner, Nadal had break point. He capitalized when Federer’s forehand found the net. With a prompt game, Nadal moved ahead 3-0.

The remainder of the set, Federer was just trying to tread water. The Swiss’ only window came at 1-3 and 0-30, but Nadal quickly shut it.

With Federer serving to prolong the match, miscues after miscues gave Nadal his first match point. As a result of Federer misfiring, Nadal booked his place into the final.

Federer committed 31 unforced errors while hitting 18 winners. Federer said in analyzing the match “I think it’s always a bit of an adjustment coming out and playing Rafa, any lefty, but him in particular. . . I warmed up with a lefty, Bob Bryan, and tried to get acclimatized as [much as] I could against him. It’s just hard”.

Federer went on “in the first couple games I got a break down, the conditions weren’t really favoring me. [It’s] slow [and] just makes it so hard to hit through him on a surface like this. Maybe you try to over hit a bit. Then, I started to make the wrong decisions on big points. . .and it’s not easy to come back. He played tough and he played well when he had to and I didn’t do that tonight. So it’s disappointing for me”.

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Can’t Stop Him: Djokovic into Fourth Successive Final

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Can’t Stop Him: Djokovic into Fourth Successive Final

In the semifinals of the Sony Ericsson Open, Mardy Fish hoped to pull an April fools’ surprise on Novak Djokovic with an upset. Unfortunately for Fish, the Serb was not game. Djokovic dominated Fish 6-3, 6-1 to reach his fourth straight final of the year and extend his winning streak to 25 matches.

Fish was the first to have double break point in the initial set. Yet, Djokovic took care of those to salvage the game. Then at 2 all and Djokovic serving at 15-30, the rain came.

Once the court was dried and the players picked up where they left off, Djokovic guarded serve and went ahead 3-2.

Soon, with Fish burying a volley into the net from a low forehand by Djokovic, the Serb had break point. Although Fish won the next point for deuce, with Djokovic connecting on backhand crosscourt pass for a winner, Fish faced the third break point of the game. When Fish netted a forehand in an extensive rally, Djokovic pocketed the break for 4-3.

Then, with Fish sending a return wide, Djokovic consolidated for 5-2.

Serving for the set, Djokovic dumped a forehand into the net to hand Fish double break point. Still, with Fish misfiring on forehand shot and backhand volley, Djokovic got to deuce and later shut the first set.

By double faulting in the opening game of the second set, Fish donated break point to his adversary. After saving one break point, Fish gifted another with a forehand volley error. With Fish’s forehand landing wide, Djokovic broke.

After comfortably consolidating and getting a 3-1 lead, Djokovic found himself with double break point when Fish’s backhand volley went wide. On Fish’s second backhand volley mistake in a row, Djokovic had his second break and a 4-1 advantage.

Subsequent to erasing a break point to get to 5-1, Djokovic provoked a series of miscues from Fish to arrive at double break point. By breaking Fish for the third time in the set, Djokovic clinched a berth into the final.

Fish was trying to defeat Djokovic for the maiden time in six attempts. Considering that Djokovic is unbeaten, it was perhaps an impossible task.

Maybe the tone of the match would have been different had Fish converted on his break point chances. Fish said “those were huge points. It was extremely disappointing. . . I thought I played well. . .down 63, 51 you look at the total points won and he’s only won like eight more points. I [just] didn’t win any of the big points. . . I left a lot shots out there today.”

Again, Fish confirmed that fellow competitors are amazed by what Djokovic has done so far “He’s not losing games. He’s crushing us. . . He doesn’t give you much out there at all. . . The matches are so long you’re bound to lose focus here and there. . . Sometimes for guys it’s games, for him it’s maybe a point or two at the most right now. He zones in pretty well”.

Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer play tonight for a place in the final. In terms of Nadal or Federer being able to vanquish Djokovic, Fish cited “I think those guys are at another level than myself. . . [They] have played in matches like this before all the time. . . Certainly both guys can beat him; they came close at Indian Wells. . . You have to favor [Djokovic but] he’s got to lose sometime”.

After the match, Djokovic stated that he was glad for the rain delay “after I came back from the locker room. . . I felt different on the court. [The] first couple of games were quite strange. The wind was blowing, it was quite humid, just different conditions. . . I came into the match not really moving well, just lucky enough not to go a break down”.

Djokovic has yet to be broken this tournament and it’s been a difficult task for his competitors this year. The Serb was asked the secret to guarding serve in those pressure situation.

Djokovic responded “any time I was down break points. . .I served really well. That’s something that makes me happy. You [need] some luck as well in some moments”.

The last time Federer claimed a victory over Djokovic was at 2010 Barclays ATP World tour final. Federer’s three knockdowns this year have come at the hand of Djokovic. Nadal has met Djokovic once this year at Indian Wells and was the runner-up.

With a good hardcourt record against Nadal but having yet to surrender a match to Federer this season, does Djokovic have a preference as to whom he sees in the final? Djokovic answered “I don’t really know how to answer. Both have played great tennis over the years regardless of the surface. They’re such great competitors and tennis players that it doesn’t matter really. They always play at a very high level”.

Further, Djokovic said “in order for me to win the final. . . . I will have to be at the top of my game against either of those two players”.

On Sunday, Djokovic, the 2007 champion in Miami, will attempt to hold the Indian Wells and Miami titles simultaneously. An achievement that was last realized by Federer. Federer did it twice in 2005 and 2006.

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It’s official: Nadal and Federer in the Semifinals at the Sony Ericsson Open

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It’s official: Nadal and Federer in the Semifinals at the Sony Ericsson Open

Tonight in the quarterfinals at the Sony Ericsson Open, world number one Rafael Nadal collided with 2010 finalist Tomas Berdych. Nadal staved off Berdych 6-2, 3-6, 6-3 to get to the semifinals against archrival Roger Federer.

With Nadal winning nine of the twelve meetings against Berdych and the last eight, the contest at first seemed a formality. Particularly the manner in which Nadal got out of the gates.

Nadal raced to a 3-0 advantage in the primary set by taking Berdych’s first two games. Then, by provoking a backhand miscue from Berdych padded his lead to 4-0.

With Berdych serving, Nadal hit an awesome forehand crosscourt pass off a backhand overhead by Berdych which summed up the miserable time that Berdych was having. Still, Berdych held to make the score respectable at 4-1.

While Nadal had no trouble carrying the set, the next couple of games, Berdych demonstrated that he finally awoke.

In the opening game of the second set, Berdych overcame double break point to maintain serve. Subsequently, when Nadal double faulted and had a forehand go long, Berdych had double break point. With a forehand up the line winner, Berdych grabbed the break for 2-0.

Then, Berdych consolidated for a 3-0 lead. During the changeover, Nadal called for the trainer and the Spaniard had his shoulder and neck attended to. After the treatment, Nadal held for 3-1.

Nadal received treatment again during the second set. In the eighth game, Nadal fought off two set points to guard serve for 5-3. However, with strong serving, Berdych closed the set with a love game.

Prior to the commencement of the third set, Nadal was manipulated by the trainer for the third time. By slicing a backhand long, Nadal stared at triple break point.

A mistake by Berdych and three consecutive aces gave Nadal game point. The Spaniard finished the game with a forehand volley winner.

Both players had relatively fast service games with no break point until the eighth game.

When Berdych dumped a forehand into the net after Nadal’s penetrating stroke, the latter had double break point. Nadal went up 5-3 when Berdych again netted a forehand.

As a result of a winner, Nadal arrived at triple match point. With Berdych’s backhand sailing long, Nadal wrote his name opposite Federer’s in the semifinals.

A conspicuously disappointed Berdych said “to break after winning the second set, that would have been a great chance for me. But, he just served unbelievably well. . . You can expect three or four aces from somebody like [Andy] Roddick or [Ivo] Karlovic. But from Rafa [not really], just too good for him”.

Still, Berdych said there are positives to take away from this encounter when asked by MiamiTennisNews.com “the matches since the last time I beat him, I had not won a set against him. . . I was trying something different today. Until maybe the last service game it was working pretty well and I had a good run”.

After the match, Nadal cited that it was unusual that his serve actually saved the match. Something that would not have been possible probably four years ago.

As far the right shoulder injury, Nadal stated that he felt a pinched nerve, something that had never occurred before. The Spaniard expressed that he just blocked out the injury in the third set. After all, it’s the quarterfinals of a Masters Series one of the most important tournaments.

Nadal felt confident that he would be well for the challenge of playing Federer tomorrow night. In their head to head, Nadal leads Federer 14-8.

Speaking of Federer, Nadal iterated that it’s always nice and “special” to play Federer. Over the years, they’ve developed a friendship and he does not view it as a “rivalry”. The two have battled in so many finals and he has great respect for Federer.

Nadal is in his second straight semifinal in Miami. In 2005 and 2008, Nadal advanced to the final but was stopped by Federer the first time, then surprised by Nikolay Davydenko the second.

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Federer Gets a Pass into Sony Ericsson Open Semifinal

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Federer Gets a Pass into Sony Ericsson Open Semifinal

The tantalizing prospect of a Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal semifinal at the Sony Ericsson Open was given a leg up by Gilles Simon. This afternoon, the Frenchman retired down 0-3 giving Federer a virtual walkover into the next round.

Simon produced three successive errors to hand Federer triple break point in the opening game. Then, with a forehand winner, Federer took the game.

After Federer had no problem on his service game, at double break point, Simon dumped a volley into the net. Consequently, Federer had another break and a 3-0 lead.

During the change over, Simon consulted the trainer. Following a brief discussion, Simon shook hands with Federer conceding the match.

The Frenchman was forced to retire due to a stiff neck. Simon explained that “ in the morning’s warm-up, I felt it. It’s a pain I have sometimes. I had it in Rotterdam one month ago. I couldn’t play either. . . sometimes I just wake up like that and cannot turn my head very much. . . I tried everything, anti-inflammatory [medications], hot cream. . . After the second forehand I tried to hit very hard; I felt [pain] very hard also. I knew I had no chance today”.

Simon stated that it’s a problem which dates back at least six or seven years. In fact, the first time it presented itself on tour was at a tournament in Madrid. Simon withdrew from the qualifying rounds.

Simon cited that the issue was not a consequence of the grueling fourth round match against Janko Tipsarevic. He was disappointed particularly having battled a knee injury last year which caused him to miss part of the season.

Moreover, Simon had a 2-1 record versus Federer coming into today. In fact, Simon pushed Federer to a fifth set at this year’s Australian Open after being behind two sets to love.

Considering their previous encounters, when Federer was asked “nice way to into the semis”. Federer responded “No, no. It’s not a whole lot fun honestly because you see the guy being booed off the court which he clearly doesn’t deserve. . . I think we played only fifteen points, so it’s not great”.

Federer continued by saying “we’ve played some funny matches against each other. The five setter this year. . . The second time around in Shanghai I came off a back injury and I couldn’t really play properly as well. The first time in Toronto which was basically a normal match. . . I don’t know what to say. I’m just happy to be in the semis at this point”.

Nadal and Federer have not played on U.S. soil since the ATP Masters in Miami in 2005, the first of two titles for Federer at this venue. Thus, the two meeting in the semifinals would be special.

On the topic Federer stated “If I play Rafa, we have many memories from playing amazing matches against each other. It’s not even that unusual that we play each other in the semis because it happened at the World Tour finals back in Shanghai”.

Also Federer iterated “I’m happy that I’m already a step further [than last year]. . . I would love to play Rafa clearly. I think it would be electric out there tomorrow night”.

Tomas Berdych and Nadal clash tonight for the a place in the semifinals.

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Sharapova Battles Her Way into the Sony Ericsson Open Final

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Sharapova Battles Her Way into the Sony Ericsson Open Final

Andrea Petkovic was gunning for another former world number one in order to advance to the Sony Ericsson Open final. However, Maria Sharapova was uncooperative. After dropping the first set in the semifinals, Sharapova dispatched Petkovic 3-6,6-0,6-2.

After Petkovic and Sharapova traded breaks to start the match, Petkovic took control of the first set by breaking and consolidating for 5-2.

In the second set though, Sharapova turned the tables on Petkovic. After Sharapova fought off a break point and had four deuces to hold in the initial game, she seized the break for 2-0.

Subsequently, Sharapova sponged over a break point to get to 3-0. Later, in a game that Petkovic seemed to be in command of, Sharapova manufactured break point to go up 4-0.

Ultimately, on the fourth break point opportunity, Sharapova banked the second set to force a decisive third.

The concluding set was more of the same. An aggressive Sharapova did not allow Petkovic to breathe. Following an swift first game, Sharapova had triple break point. The Russian capitalized with a forehand up the line winner.

With another quick game, Sharapova had a 3-0 lead. When Petkovic sent another backhand out of play, Sharapova had double break point. With another winner, Sharapova sprinted to a 4-0 advantage.

Petkovic mounted a mini charge in breaking Sharapova the first time she served for the match. But, Sharapova reasserted her supremacy by stealing Petkovic’s next game and punched her ticket into the final.

Petkovic was attempting to reach her second final of the year, she was a finalist in Brisbane. Petkovic was the first German in the semifinals in Miami since Steffi Graf in 1999. Moreover, Petkovic was trying to become only the second German to compete for the title.

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Azarenka Bypasses Clijsters to Advance to the Semifinals at the Sony Ericsson Open

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Azarenka Bypasses Clijsters to Advance to the Semifinals at the Sony Ericsson Open

Tonight, two Sony Ericsson Open champions collided for a spot in the semifinals. Victoria Azarenka the 2009 champion brushed aside 2005 and defending champion Kim Clijsters 6-3, 6-3 to reach her first semifinal of the season.

Clijsters’ fourth round match against Ana Ivanovic was rescheduled from Monday to Tuesday due to rain. Then, the Belgian had to overcome a 1-5 deficit in the third set to make it to the quarterfinals. Consequently, it was anyone’s guess what physical and emotional toll this would have.

At 1 all, Clijsters committed an error to give Azarenka break point. The Belarusian converted when Clijsters sent a backhand long. Azarenka then comfortably consolidated for a 3-1 edge.

Yet, with Azarenka pushing a forehand long, Clijsters had triple break point. The Belgian capitalized when Azarenka threw in her second double fault of the game.

At that point, Clijsters seemed over her lackadaisical start. However, after having double game point, Clijsters dumped a backhand pass into the net to give Azarenka break point. As a result of a miscue from Clijsters, Azarenka took the game and consolidated for 5-3.

Breaking Clijsters for the third time, Azarenka bagged the opening set.

Subsequent to a quick hold, on a double fault by Clijsters, Azarenka had her second break point of the second set. Azarenka moved in front 2-0 when Clijsters’ forehand landed out of play.

Still, Clijsters fought back breaking right away. Again though after having game point, Clijsters was broken. Azarenka duplicated that achievement Clijsters’ next service game to jump ahead 5-1.

With Azarenka serving, Clijsters dismissed two match points and broke. Clijsters shrunk the gap to 5-3.

At this point, the crowd was still spurring Clijsters on hoping for a repeat of yesterday’s miracle. However, Azarenka would not be denied. On her third match point opportunity, Azarenka sealed the deal.

After the match, Clijsters was asked about what went wrong “Obviously, tonight was going to be very tough. I just didn’t feel good out there mentally, physically, [it] didn’t feel right”.

Whether it could have been too much tennis? Clijsters replied “I don’t know, a combination of a few things. . . Tough last few days, but not in a way that I should not be ready for that. I train hard enough. . . I just didn’t have any fighting spirit. It’s obviously tough against someone like her. Against some lower ranked players maybe it’s possible to get through matches”.

Azarenka had played Clijsters five times prior with only one win. Therefore, MiamiTennisNews inquired what was the difference today. Azarenka responded “ I played a little bit more aggressive. I tried to come in more. That was the biggest difference and physically I was much more stable today”.

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Fish Steamrolls Ferrer to Reach the Semifinals at the Sony Ericsson Open

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Fish Steamrolls Ferrer to Reach the Semifinals at the Sony Ericsson Open

With a 7-5, 6-2 win over world number six David Ferrer, Mardy Fish booked a spot in the semifinals of the Sony Ericsson Open for the first time in his career.

Ferrer and Fish’s record was knotted at 3-3 coming into today. Their last meeting was at the ATP Masters in Paris in 2007. Therefore, Ferrer had yet to play the new trimmed up version of the American. With Ferrer being such a good retriever and defender, Fish’s fitness at least would not be a factor in the outcome.

The first few games of the opening set, the players seemed to be getting reacquainted with one another. Soon though, Ferrer saved a break point to get to 3-2. Subsequently, Fish salvaged two break points to equalize at 3 all.

Down the road, serving at 5 all, Ferrer double faulted to donate break point to his opponent. Ferrer produced a second double fault to hand Fish a 6-5 lead. Despite Ferrer’s resistance, Fish won the next game and captured the initial set.

The second set, Ferrer committed a spate of backhand errors to give Fish double break point. When Ferrer’s forehand found the net, Fish had the break for 2-1.

After consolidating at love, Fish was gifted another break point from a Ferrer miscue and capitalized to widen his advantage by a double break. Once again, at love, Fish captured the following game to move ahead 5-1.

Despite an open court, with Fish at triple match point, Ferrer sent a backhand wide to finish the day.
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Nadal Dissects 4th Round Win at Sony Ericsson Open

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Nadal Dissects 4th Round Win at Sony Ericsson Open

Rafael Nadal sat down with the media after his fourth round win over Alexandr Dolgopolov. Nadal answered questions about today’s rain delay, the conditions out on the court due to the high humidity and his next round match with Tomas Berdych. Here is his interview with the media.

Q. The weather today, did that cause you any disruptions, or just you know what you have to do in those sort of situations? ​

RAFAEL NADAL: No, you know, be calm and wait. That’s all. Nothing else. You can’t do a lot of things in days like today. Relax in the players’ lounge, be with the friends. That’s it. ​It’s nothing new. It’s something that happen a lot of times in the tennis. ​

Q. Playing Alexandr today, did you feel that he was maybe a little bit tired having to finish off against Tsonga today? ​

RAFAEL NADAL: I don’t know. I don’t know if he was tired or not, but you can ask him, I think. But maybe is possible, no? But I think when we play matches, fiveset matches in Grand Slam is more than what he had. ​So I think probably is not easy play end of the match and after start of the match. That’s sure. But that’s part of the game, no? It happen to me a few times, and I think in general I played at very good level, no? ​Probably he had more mistakes than usual, but I don’t know if because he was little bit tired or not. ​

Q. Did you find the conditions heavy because of the rain from earlier on? ​

RAFAEL NADAL: No, heavy, very humid. That’s why I am sweating a lot. ​

Q. What about playing Tomas in the next round? ​

RAFAEL NADAL: Difficult match always, no? We know each other. We played a lot of times, and I know just play my best tennis I gonna have chances against him, no? ​He can play very, very good, and I have to play very solid all the time with my serve and wait a chance on the return. ​

Q. One question about being an ambassador for Bacardi. I was just wondering, was that a difficult decision, seeing that alcohol and sponsorship for alcohol might be a little strange for some people? Or was it more you saw the good it can do with the company? ​

RAFAEL NADAL: Did you see the campaign? ​

Q. Yeah. ​

RAFAEL NADAL: So, I mean, I am not presenting alcohol party, you know. It’s a responsible campaign, a social campaign. ​Anyway, I think alcohol is inside our lives, so is nothing new, no? But the campaign is not against alcohol but about be responsible when you go out. ​So wasn’t difficult decision, because I think is very important social campaign, and I believe in this campaign. So it was a very easy decision, because I think is very good thing to do for Bacardi.

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Del Potro Falls to Fish at the Sony Ericsson Open

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Del Potro Falls to Fish at the Sony Ericsson Open

Mardy Fish avenged his Delray semifinal loss today. Fish toppled Juan Martin Del Potro in 7-5, 7-6 to qualify for his first quarterfinal at the Sony Ericsson Open.

Following steady play from both competitors, Fish was the first to get a break point in the eighth game of the initial set. Del Potro blotted that out to level the set at 4 all.

In the subsequent game, Del Potro had five break points but failed to capitalize. Perhaps a tad disappointed, Del Potro found himself in a love-40 hole. However, the Argentine dug himself out and drew even with Fish.

Yet, serving to extend the first set to a tiebreaker, Del Potro got down double break point and could not recover. As such, Fish banked the first set.

In the second set, Fish seized a break to go up 3-2. But, Del Potro rebounded quickly and erased the deficit. With neither man surrendering another service game, the second set went to a tiebreaker.

Fish sprinted to a 5-0 lead in the tiebreaker. Although Del Potro narrowed the gap to 6-5. On his third attempt at match point, Fish converted.

Fish was content with his play “it was one of those matches that a couple points here and there and you lose the match. . . He had a ton of break points. I had a few and converted on two of them; he got me on one. . . It was high quality tennis for the better part of it, I think. I’m sure he came off thinking he played pretty well and I played great”.

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Nadal Moves On to the Fourth Round at the Sony Ericsson Open

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Nadal Moves On to the Fourth Round at the Sony Ericsson Open

In the third round at the Sony Ericsson Open, Rafael Nadal faced fellow Spaniard Feliciano Lopez. Nadal eased his way into the fourth round with a solid 6-3, 6-3 triumph.

After a few comfortable holds by Lopez, Nadal got the critical break to go ahead 4-3. Subsequent to promptly consolidating, Nadal arrived at triple break point. Although Lopez fought back to deuce, Nadal eventually secured the break to claim the first set.

In the second set, with a forehand down the line winner, Nadal manufactured double break point. Nadal then won the next point to take a 4-2 advantage.

Again, Nadal quickly consolidated for 5-2. Despite Lopez guarding serve the next game, with a volley that threaded the needle, Nadal had double match point. With a forehand winner, Nadal progressed to the fourth round.

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