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Nadal Races Into Round Of 16

Miami, U.S.A.

Rafael Nadal had made a third-round exit two weeks ago at the BNP Paribas Open. He wasted no time in getting through the same stage on Monday at the Sony Open Tennis in Miami.

The World No. 1 went six for seven on his break point chances and saved the three faced on serve, including two in the opening game of the second set, to complete a 6-1, 6-0 rout of Uzbekistan’s Denis Istomin. It marked the second time this season that Nadal had conceded just one game in a match (d. Sousa in Rio).

"I played a very complete match," he said. "No mistakes, serving with good per centage, and playing a lot of winners. My movements were better than what I did last events."

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Nadal is bidding to win the Sony Open Tennis title for a first time, following runner-up finishes in 2005, ’08 and ’11. He will look to reach the quarter-finals for a seventh straight visit when he next meets 14th-seeded Italian Fabio Fognini, whom he leads 3-0 in their FedEx ATP Head2Head series. Both Nadal and Fognini will be attempting to record their 20th match wins of the 2014 season.

"He has an amazing talent. Great forehand, great backhand, especially the forehand, but he's able to hit winners from every part of the court," said Nadal. "He's an opponent sometimes that can be unpredictable, and it's difficult to play against these kind of players, especially when they are playing well and Fognini is playing well."

Fognini needed just over two hours to overcome Spaniard Roberto Bautista Agut 4-6, 6-3, 6-3, reaching the fourth round for a second straight Masters 1000 tournament. Like Nadal, Fognini fell to Alexandr Dolgopolov in Indian Wells.

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John Isner kept American title hopes alive in Miami as he struck 17 aces in a 7-5, 6-3 win over 18th-seeded Nicolas Almagro

The North Carolina-native will play World No. 7 Tomas Berdych in the fourth round after the Czech dismissed Portugal's Joao Sousa 6-2, 6-4. Isner trails Berdych 2-3 in their FedEx ATP Head2Head, but won their two previous meetings on U.S. soil.

Isner re-entered the Top 10 of the Emirates ATP Rankings last Monday, after a semi-final effort in Indian Wells (l. to Djokovic). He will be looking to advance to the Miami quarter-finals for the first time. Berdych has reached the quarter-finals in three of the past four years, highlighted by his runner-up finish in 2010 (l. to Roddick).

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© Kate Whitney Lucey

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