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Nadal Stops Hewitt In Quest For Miami Title

Miami, U.S.A.

Nadal© Getty ImagesRafael Nadal is in search of his first title at the Sony Open Tennis.

Sony Open Tennis top seed Rafael Nadal opened his campaign for a maiden Miami crown on Saturday evening with a 6-1, 6-3 win over three-time semi-finalist Lleyton Hewitt.

Nadal was playing in his first match since losing to Alexandr Dolgopolov in the BNP Paribas Open third round two weeks ago.

On Saturday evening, the World No. 1 wore down the baseline game of his Australian opponent, winning in 69 minutes. The second-round battle in Crandon Park was the pair's 11th meeting and the first in four years. Nadal has won their past six encounters and takes a 7-4 lead in their FedEx ATP Head2Head series.

In his first appearance in Key Biscayne since the 2012 semi-finals (l. to Murray), the 27-year-old Nadal took charge in the first set, breaking the World No. 44 Hewitt in the opening game and converting on two of three other break opportunities.

Hewitt, who reached the semi-finals of this ATP World Tour Masters 1000 tournament in 2000 (l. to Sampras), 2001 (l. to Gambill) and 2002 (l. to Federer), would cede the lone break point in the second set.

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The 33-year-old Hewitt hoped to add one more victory to his 600 match wins, a milestone he reached after dispatching Dutchman Robin Haase in the Miami first round on Thursday. Hewitt is the third active player to have a match-win record over the 600 mark, joining Roger Federer (942) and Nadal (675).

The Spaniard's victory sets up a third-round meeting against Denis Istomin, who beat 29th seed Dmitry Tursunov 6-7(8), 6-0, 6-3 in just over two hours. The Uzbekistani made 71 per cent of his first serves and dealt 19 aces to his Russian opponent.

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