Rafael Nadal begins Miami Open 2017 campaign against Israel's Dudi Sela in their second-round clash at the Crandon Park Tennis Centre in Florida on Friday.
The four-time finalist (2005, 2008, 2010, 2014) is heading into the tournament after suffering a fourth-round exit at Indian Wells earlier this month following defeat to eventual champion Roger Federer in straight sets. On the other hand, Sela crashed out of the BNP Paribas Open after opening-round defeat to Stephane Robert.
Nadal has been in fine form since coming back from an injury lay-off earlier this year. The 14-time Grand Slam champion came close to winning his 15th at the Australian Open earlier this year only to be denied by Federer at the end of a gruelling five-setter in Melbourne. The Spaniard quickly gathered himself after the defeat and reached the final in Acapulco but lost to Sam Querrey.
After facing defeat against his familiar foe last week at the Indian Wells, Nadal, who has not won a hard court title since 2014, has reportedly revealed that he would want to add Miami to his impressive Curriculum Vitae and says he is focussed on doing the job in Florida after having a good start to the year.
Standing in his way on Friday is the world number 83, who has had an uninspiring last few months despite starting the season well with a final appearance at the Canberra Challenger. Dudi has suffered first-round exits in his last-four tournaments and he was ousted from the Australian Open as early as in the second round.
While he would want to avenge his 2015 Australian Open defeat against Nadal, Dudi is staring at another first-round exit, given the fifth seed's recent form.
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