Rafael Nadal
In-form Nadal starts as favourite to progress to final Reuters

Fifth seed Rafael Nadal takes on unseeded Fabio Fognini in the Men's singles semi-final of 2017 Miami Open at Crandon Park on Friday.

The Spaniard is a step away from booking a place in his fifth Miami final after he demolished in-form Jack Sock 6-2, 6-3 in his quarter-final outing on Wednesday. On the other hand, Fognini stunned second seed Kei Nishikori in straight sets to become the first unseeded player since 2007 to reach the last-four stages.

Nadal is all set for a possible meeting with his arch rival Roger Federer in the title match and if both the players manage to survive till Sunday, it will also be their third meeting in the new season. However, the world number seven will be focussed on the challenge on Friday and he has reportedly revealed that the clash against in-form Italian will be a good challenge.

The 14-time Grand Slam champion though will start as favourite, given his recent form and his 7-3 head-to-head advantage over Fognini. Nadal, who made a comeback from a long injury-layoff last year, has been consistent in the new season as he defied odds to reach the title match of Australian Open and followed it up with another final appearance in Acapulco but ended up on the losing side on both the occasions.

Nadal would want to end his title drought and thus coming up with a perfect match against his in-form opponent will give him the necessary confidence ahead of the big final.

Fognini though would be hoping to spoil Nadal's chances but the world number 40, who is bidding to reach his maiden Masters 1000 final, has to punch above his weight to stand a chance. However, the Italian will be confident as his only win against a top-10 player this season came only a couple of weeks back at Indian Wells.

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