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Nadal Sets Sights On First Miami Crown

Miami, U.S.A.

Miami Nadal© Getty ImagesRafael Nadal begins his 2014 Sony Open Tennis campaign against Lleyton Hewitt.

DAY 4 PREVIEW: Four of the world’s top 10 players – Rafael Nadal, Stanislas Wawrinka, Tomas Berdych and John Isner – open their accounts in Miami as second round action continues on Day 4 at the Sony Open Tennis.

No. 3 seed Wawrinka opens proceedings on Stadium against Daniel Gimeno-Traver, who the Swiss beat twice last year, while World No. 1 Nadal headlines the night session against former World No. 1 Lleyton Hewitt. The Spaniard takes a 6-4 record into the pair’s 11th meeting on the ATP World Tour.

The other men’s singles match on the main show court sees American Isner go up against Donald Young with the World No. 10 owning a 2-0 record over his compatriot. Berdych, who fell in his opening match in Indian Wells, takes on Stephane Robert. The Frenchman won their only previous contest, at the French Open in 2011.

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2014 MATCH-WIN LEADERS: Three of this season’s top five match-win leaders are in action on Day 4. Roger Federer joined Cilic in first place with a victory over Ivo Karlovic in the first round on Friday but the in-form Croat can regain top spot when he takes on Frenchman Edouard Roger-Vasellin today:

Rank Player 2014 W-L
1 Marin Cilic 20-5
2 Roger Federer 20-3
3 David Ferrer 18-5
4 Fabio Fognini 17-5
5 Rafael Nadal 17-2

GOING FOR 200: Guillermo Garcia-Lopez will bid for his 200th career win when he goes up against Gael Monfils on Grandstand. The 30-year-old – who is one of 14 Spaniards ranked in the Top 100 in the Emirates ATP Rankings and one of 34 players aged over 30 – has a 199-233 career win-loss record. His first Tour-level win came over Todd Reid at Roland Garros in 2004, while his 100th victory came in the first round in Valencia in 2009 when he defeated Simon Greul.

TURSUNOV VS ISTOMIN, PART IV>: The Russian and Uzbekistani go head-to-head for the fourth time in 2014. They’ve met in the QF in Sydney (Tursunov won 7-6(5), 6-2), the second round at the Australian Open (Istomin won 7-6(3), 4-6, 6-1, 6-4) and the second round in Montpellier (Istomin won 7-5, 6-4).

ISNER RETURNS TO TOP 10: Isner will contest a match as a Top 10 player for the first time in a year and a half when he takes on Young. The American regained Top 10 status for the first time since 24 September 2012 after his run to the SF in Indian Wells (l. to Djokovic). That year he ranked in the Top 10 for 18 weeks – reaching a career-high No. 9 on 16 April.

DAY 4 SELECTED FEDEX ATP HEAD 2 HEADS

STADIUM

[3] Stanislas Wawrinka (SUI) vs Daniel Gimeno-Traver (ESP)


FedEx Head 2 Head: Wawrinka leads 2-0

2013 Buenos Aires (Argentina) Clay R16 S Wawrinka 6-1 6-4
2013 Gstaad (Switzerland) Clay R16 S Wawrinka 7-5 7-6(4)

Wawrinka is making his sixth appearance in Miami. His best showing came in 2009 when he reached the fourth round (l. to Nadal).
• Wawrinka is 13-1 this season, opening his year with titles in Chennai (d. Roger-Vasselin) and at the Australian Open. In Melbourne, Wawrinka posted three Top 10 wins in a row – No. 2 Djokovic, No, 7 Berdych and No. 1 Nadal – en route to his maiden Grand Slam victory. His 13-match winning streak came to an end at the hands of Kevin Anderson in the Round of 16 in Indian Wells.
• Wawrinka’s QF victory over Aljaz Bedene in Chennai this year was his 300th victory on the ATP World Tour. He became just the fourth Swiss player to reach the landmark after Roger Federer (923), Marc Rosset (433) and Jakob Hlasek (432).
• Wawrinka enjoyed a standout season in 2013. The Swiss native won a personal-best 51 matches (nine vs. Top 10 opponents) and was the lone new addition to the year-end Top 10. His prize money total of $2,880,925 was his highest return in a single season.
• Wawrinka reached the QF or better on 14 different occasions in 2013, including a SF appearance at the US Open. The 28-year-old was also just one of three players, including Rafael Nadal and David Ferrer, to end the year with 20+ wins on both clay and hard courts.
Gimeno-Traver won 83 per cent of first serve points as he saw off wild card Karen Khachanov 6-7(8), 6-1, 6-1 to reach the 2R.
• This is Gimeno-Traver’s fourth visit to Miami. He has never advanced beyond the second round here.
• Gimeno-Traver’s best showing this season came in Vina del Mar where he reached the QF (l. to L Mayer). Before this week, the Spaniard had fallen in the first round in five of his seven outings this year.
• Gimeno-Traver finished 2013 ranked inside the top 75 for the fourth time in five years, highlighted by QF appearances in Vina del Mar (l. to Nadal) and Kitzbuhel (l. to Monaco).
• Gimeno-Traver is 3-15 lifetime against Top 10 opposition. His last Top 10 win came over No. 9 Richard Gasquet in Madrid last year.

[10] John Isner (USA) vs Donald Young (USA)


FedEx Head 2 Head: Isner leads 3-0

2008 Washington (USA) Hard R16 John Isner 6-4 7-6(4)
2012 Memphis (U.S.A.) Hard R16 John Isner 7-6(3) 6-4

Isner returns to Miami for the seventh time. His best showing was a fourth-round appearance in 2011 (l. to Anderson).
• Isner returned to the Top 10 this week after a SF run in Indian Wells (l. to Djokovic).
• Isner opened the season with his eighth career ATP World Tour title in Auckland (d. Lu) before retiring in the first round of the Australian Open (vs. Klizan) due to an ankle injury, which he first sustained in the Hopman Cup in Perth. He recovered from injury to reach the SF in Delray Beach (l. to Cilic).
• Isner finished 2013 as the top-ranked American for the second year in succession, equaling his year-end best ranking of No. 14.
• Isner has won more than 35 matches and finished in the Top 20 in the past four seasons.
• Isner captured two titles in 2013 in Houston and Atlanta. The 6’10’’ American’s victory in Houston marked his first Tour title on clay and his 6-7(3), 7-6(2), 7-6(2) (no breaks) win over 6’8’’ Anderson in Atlanta was the tallest title match in ATP World Tour history. Overall, he was 2-2 in
finals in 2013.
• Isner played in and won the most tie-breaks (38-18) last year.
Young clinched his first-ever win in Miami with a 6-2, 6-2 victory over Berlocq in 68 minutes.
• Young is playing in Miami for the fifth time. He fell at the first hurdle in 2005 (l. to Lisnard), 2006 (l. to Berlocq), 2011 (l. to Istomin) and 2012 (l. to Goffin).
• Young qualified into both Auckland and Acapulco this year, falling in the second round on both occasions to David Ferrer and Gilles Simon, respectively. His best performance of the year, however, came at the Australian Open where he advanced to the 3R (d. No. 35 Seppi, l. to No. 17 Nishikori). He fell in the first round in Indian Wells to compatriot Michael Russell in three sets.
• Young finished 2013 inside the Top 100 for the third time, ending the season at No. 96.
• The 24-year-old, who began playing professional before turning 15, spent much of his time last year at Challenger events where he compiled a 31-13 record, winning three titles.
• Young is 2-8 lifetime against Top 10 opponents and 0-2 this year. His only two Top 10 wins came over No. 9 Monfils in Bangkok in 2011 and No. 5 Murray in Indian Wells that same year.

[1] Rafael Nadal (ESP) vs Lleyton Hewitt (AUS)

FedEx Head 2 Head: Nadal leads 6-4

2004 Australian Open (Australia) Hard R32 Lleyton Hewitt 7-6(2) 7-6(5) 6-2
2004 ATP Masters Series Canada (Canada) Hard R64 Lleyton Hewitt 1-6 6-4 6-2
2005 Australian Open (Australia) Hard R16 Lleyton Hewitt 7-5 3-6 1-6 7-6 6-2
2006 Roland Garros (France) Clay R16 Rafael Nadal 6-2 5-7 6-4 6-2
2006 London / Queen's Club (England) Grass QF Lleyton Hewitt 3-6 6-3 ret.
2007 ATP Masters Series Hamburg (Germany) Clay SF Rafael Nadal 2-6 6-3 7-5
2007 Roland Garros (France) Clay R16 Rafael Nadal 6-3 6-1 7-6(5)
2008 Beijing Olympics (China) Hard R32 Rafael Nadal 6-1 6-2
2009 Roland Garros (France) Clay R32 Rafael Nadal 6-1 6-3 6-1
2010 Roland Garros (France) Clay R32 Rafael Nadal 6-3 6-4 6-3

Nadal is making his 10th visit to the Sony Open Tennis (30-8). He has reached the QF or better in his last six outings but has never lifted the title here. He fell in three finals: 2005 (l. to Federer), 2008 (l. to Davydenko) and 2011 (l. to Djokovic).
• In Indian Wells, Nadal advanced to the third round, where he was upset in three sets by Dolgopolov.
• Nadal collected his 43rd clay-court title and 62nd overall when he defeated Dolgopolov in the inaugural Rio Open Presented by Claro hdtv final last month. The Spaniard equaled Guillermo Vilas in seventh place on the Open Era titles list with the victory.
• Nadal opened the season by defeating Gael Monfils to clinch the title in Doha. Qatar was the 17th different country where the Spaniard had lifted an ATP World Tour title. In chronological order, he had previously won in Poland, Brazil, Mexico, Monaco, Spain, Italy, France, Sweden, Germany, Canada, China, U.A.E., U.S., England, Australia and Japan.
• Nadal defeated World No. 6 Roger Federer en route to the Australian Open final (l. to Wawrinka).
• Nadal appeared in a career-high 14 finals in 2013, winning 10 titles. He returned to No. 1 in the Emirates ATP Rankings on Oct. 7 and finished the season in top spot for the third time.
• In 2013, Nadal became the first player to win 35+ matches on both clay and hard in a season.
• Nadal has been ranked in the Top 5 longer than any active player (since May 9, 2005) and his total of 61 career titles is the second-best among active players (Federer: 77).
Hewitt clinched his 600th win on Tour with a near two-hour 3-6, 6-3, 6-3 victory over Robin Haase in the first round. The 33-year-old became just the third active player to reach the landmark, joining Federer (937) and Nadal (674). He has the most match wins of any Australian in the Open Era.
• Hewitt is appearing in Miami for the 12th time. He has reached the SF on three occasions – 2000 (l. to Sampras), 2001 (l. to Gambill) and 2002 (l. to Federer).
• Hewitt opened his season by clinching the 29th title of his career in Brisbane (d. Federer in F). He also reached the QF in Memphis last month, losing to Michael Russell. At Indian Wells last week he fell to Kevin Anderson in the 2R.
• Hewitt finished 2013 ranked in the top 75 for the first time in three years after finishing 2012 at No. 82 and 2011 at No. 187.
• Hewitt is 65-69 lifetime against top 10 opponents and 1-1 this year with his lone victory coming over Federer in the Brisbane final.

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