Rafael Nadal can move one step closer to a first Miami Open title with victory over Jack Sock in the late night match on Stadium Court. The winner looks likely to face No.2 seed Kei Nishikori in the semis with the Japanese having what appears to be a fairly routine quarter final against Fabio Fognini. Check out the Nadal vs Sock Head to Head.
Nadal avoided a repeat of his disastrous opening set against Philipp Kohlschreiber in the last round, defeating Nicolas Mahut in a match where he was never really in trouble. Both players were comfortable on serve for the most part with Nadal rising to the occasion in the two biggest parts of the match. He won his sole break point in the first set at 4-4 and turned up in the tiebreaker to win from a minibreak down.
Meanwhile, Sock is sneakily having a very good year and extended his streak of Masters 1000 quarter finals to four. That is the current leading streak on the tour and shows that the often criticised American has been developing a good level of consistency now. His runs at the previous three Masters all included a top 10 win but this one has been far nicer to him with Vesely, Nishioka and Donaldson the three opponents he has needed to beat to make it this far.
Sock took a set off Nadal in both their meetings (Roland Garros, Beijing) in 2015 but is clearly an improved player from 18 months ago. Nadal is aware of the threat posed by the American who will break into the top 15 next week and is currently 7th in the race. “He’s a very aggressive player, very powerful player, big serve, big forehand, and a good backhand, too. He plays quick with his backhand.So I need to play aggressive. That’s the only way. If I let him play in a comfortable position it’s going to be impossible for me. So I need to be focus with my serve, but at the same time I need to be aggressive.” he said.
Rafa will no doubt be the favourite but how Sock performs will go some way to indicating how far he has come in recent months.
Prediction – Rafael Nadal in three sets