Fifth seed Rafael Nadal takes on 26th seed Philipp Kohlschreiber in the third round of Miami Open 2017 at Crandon Park in Florida on Saturday evening.
Nadal cruised to a straights set win without dropping a game against his second round opponent Dudi Sela 6-3, 6-4 on Friday to open his bid for a maiden title in Miami on a high. On the other hand, Kohlschreiber was almost on the way back home from Florida as he was trailing 2-5 in the decider against Taylor Fritz in his tournament-opener but the German held his nerves to clinch the hard-fought tie 7-5, 3-6, 7-6 (4).
Nadal has had plenty of success against Kohlschreiber in the past, beating him on 13 occasions and losing only once. Also, the German has never won a match against the 14-time Grand Slam winner on hard courts and going the by their recent form, another defeat awaits the world number 31.
The Spaniard has been in good form in the new season as well. On his comeback from an injury-layoff, Nadal reached the quarter-final of Brisbane and followed it up with a stunning run to the final of Australian Open, in which he lost to Roger Federer. He ran into the Swiss again in Indian Wells earlier this month and was demolished by the 18-time Grand Slam champion.
With Federer not in his half and potential fourth-round opponent Grigor Dimitrov, who tested him in Melbourne, out of the competition, Nadal will fancy his chances of breaking his title drought in Miami.
Also, Kohlschreiber has not gone past the third round in any of the tournaments he participated this season and was ousted from Indian Wells in the second round itself by Stanislas Wawrinka. Another tough test awaits the German and he has to punch above his weight to stand a chance against Nadal today.
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