A rematch of last year’s Rogers Cup final between top seed Rafael Nadal and Canadian No. 1 Milos Raonic is scheduled to take place on Thursday afternoon at the Sony Open. Nadal leads the head-to-head series 4-0 and will be looking to add another quick victory en route to the final four in Miami.
World No. 1 Rafael Nadal continued his rampage through the Miami main draw, this time dispatching of top ranked Italian Fabio Fognini in straight sets. The Spaniard hit 3 aces, won a whopping 95% of his first service points and 83% on his second serve to conclude the dominant display 6-2, 6-2 in 62 minutes.
“I think I was very focused and solid with my serve,” said Nadal. “That’s very important thing for me and my game when I am playing on hard.”
Nadal, who has never won a title in Miami, will be looking to reach his fourth final at the Sony Open. His latest obstacle is the Canadian No. 1, whom he is yet to drop a set against on the ATP tour.
While Raonic has been dominant all week in Miami, as he faced no break points on his serve leading into his fourth round clash with Benjamin Becker. While that may have been the case, the top Canadian needed to fend off all eight of the BPs he faced from the German to earn the 6-3, 6-4 victory. He also struck 15 aces and won 88% of his first service points.
Considering Raonic had been sidelined in January with a ankle injury, his performances this month have been commendable, as he reached the quarter-finals at both Indian Wells and the Sony Open in Miami. He will be faced with another tough match-up in the final eight, as he has never defeated Nadal in their four previous encounters.
“I have to try to impose on [him],” said Raonic, looking ahead. “When he gets ahead in the points he’s difficult to keep up with. I have to get ahead in the points early and stay ahead. And obviously serving, as well, is going to be key.”
This marks the fifth time that Nadal and Raonic will meet on the professional tour, with Nadal holding an impenetrable 4-0 record against the Canadian. The last time they met was at the final of the Rogers Cup last season, which Nadal won in comfortable fashion. Raonic has never threatened Nadal in a professional contest and it is unlikely he will find the necessary ability this time around.
Prediction: Rafael Nadal in Straight Sets