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Miami Open: Djokovic marches on, Nadal falls

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THE on-going Miami Open has been filled with lots of twists and turns, with favorites falling by the wayside and journeymen moving ahead to the business end of the tournament.

World number one, Novak Djokovic, continued his quest for a record fifth Miami crown after surviving Aleksandr Dolgopolov in three sets.

For a while, it seemed the number one was on his way out and wouldn’t defend his title, after dropping the first set tiebreak 6-7.

He smashed his racquet but that didn’t stop him from going down 0-4 in the second set. Unforced errors and dismal service games characterized his game. Starring at an imminent and shameful defeat to an unseeded player, Djokovic gathered himself to regain control of the match. He went on to win the set 7-5.

The third set was a complete turn around as Djokovic crushed Dologopolov 6-0 and secured the victory. He would later admit that he was mentally exhausted and needed to rest from tennis. He moves on to the semi finals and will face David Ferrer for a place in the finals.

Djokovic is bidding to become the first player in history to complete the Indian Wells-Miami sweep for the second straight year and third overall. He was champion last year in both tournaments and is seeking to keep his crown to ensure his firm position at the top of the rankings.

Rafael Nadal would not get a chance for a first Miami title as fellow countryman, Fernando Verdasco, knocked him out. Nadal has never won the Miami Open and it is starting to look like an impossible feat for the 28-year-old Spaniard. Verdasco’s victory over Nadal makes it the second consecutive one over the number three seed. Nadal claimed to be anxious and nervous at crucial moments and this affected his game.

Nadal is in danger of dropping rapidly in the rankings to as low as fifth or sixth place, as he has not made the semi finals or finals of any major tournament in recent times and has been losing ranking points.

He has lost to several lower ranked players in recent times but as these tournaments have been played on hard courts, it is not too surprising. Hard courts have never been kind to the Spaniard and he eagerly awaits the European clay swing where he has been supremely dominant for a number of years.


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