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Nadal, Wawrinka Headline Monday Miami Action

Miami, U.S.A.

Nadal© Getty ImagesRafael Nadal faces Denis Istomin for a fourth-round spot.

THIRD ROUND: World No. 1 Rafael Nadal and No. 3 Stanislas Wawrinka headline Day 6 at Crandon Park as action continues in the top half of the draw. The top-seeded Spaniard, who fell at this stage in Indian Wells (l. to Dolgopolov in 3R), goes up against Denis Istomin of Uzbekistan for the fourth time, with the World No. 1 leading their FedEx Head2Head series 3-0. Wawrinka also takes to the main show court today for his match-up with Edouard Roger-Vasselin. The Swiss leads their Head2Head 2-1 with his latest victory over the Frenchman coming in the final of the Aircel Chennai Open in the opening week of 2014. 

NIGHT SESSION: World No. 10 John Isner, the last remaining American hope in the men’s singles draw, opens the night session against No. 18 seed Nicolas Almagro. The pair has met three times on the ATP World Tour with the Spaniard leading their FedEx Head2Head series 2-1. This will be their first meeting on hard courts, however. This week, Isner is bidding to become just the second American to lift the Sony Open Tennis crown in 10 years (after Andy Roddick in 2010). 

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NADAL CHASES ELUSIVE CROWN: Nadal’s bid for a first Sony Open Tennis title continues today as he takes on Istomin. Miami is one of three ATP World Tour Masters 1000 events that Nadal has yet to win (along with Shanghai and Paris). He has fallen in the final here three times: 2005 (l. to Federer), 2008 (l. to Davydenko) and 2011 (l. to Djokovic in a 3rd set tie-break).

SWISS SUCCESS: No. 3 seed Wawrinka – who emerged victorious in two of the three tournaments he has contested in 2014 (Chennai, Australian Open) – was joined in the top five this week by compatriot Roger Federer. This marks the first time in Emirates ATP Rankings history (since 1973) that two players from Switzerland are ranked in the top five at the same time. 

CAREER-HIGH RANKINGS: Six players in action today currently sit at their career-high ranking: Nadal (No. 1), Wawrinka (No. 3), Fabio Fognini (No. 14), Joao Sousa (No. 42), Roberto Bautista Agut (No. 47) and Dusan Lajovic (No. 89). Both Sousa, who plays Berdych today, and Bautista Agut, who faces Fognini, reached their career-high positions for the first time in the most recently updated Emirates ATP Rankings (March 17). Sousa has improved his year-end ranking in each of the past eight seasons, while Bautista Agut has risen 12 spots since the beginning of the year after a solid start to 2014. The 25-year-old Spaniard, who turns 26 next month, advanced to the semi-finals in Auckland (l. to Isner) before a fourth round run at both the Australian Open (l. to Dimitrov) and the BNP Paribas Open (l. to Gulbis). 

DAY 6 SELECTED FEDEX ATP HEAD 2 HEADS

STADIUM

[3] Stanislas Wawrinka (SUI) vs Edouard Roger-Vasselin (FRA)


FedEx Head 2 Head: Wawrinka leads 2-1

2012 Chennai (India) Hard R16 Stanislas Wawrinka 3-6 6-3 7-5
2013 Basel (Switzerland) Hard R32 Edouard Roger-Vasselin 6-4 6-3
2014 Chennai (India) Hard F Stanislas Wawrinka 7-5 6-2

Wawrinka won 82% of points behind his first serve as he saw off Daniel Gimeno-Traver 6-0, 3-6, 6-3 to advance to the 3R.
• Wawrinka is making his sixth appearance in Miami. His best showing came in 2009 when he reached the 4R (l. to Nadal). 
• Wawrinka is 14-1 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 4R at 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. 
Roger-Vasselin collected his first ever wins in Miami with back-to-back victories over Igor Sijsling – 3-6, 6-3, 7-6(3) – and No. 25 seed Marin Cilic – 6-2, 7-6(5) – in the opening two rounds. In his previous two appearances in 2012 and 2013 he fell in his opening matches to Malisse and Devvarman, respectively.
• Roger-Vasselin started the season strong, reaching the second ATP World Tour final of his career in Chennai (l. to Wawrinka). He also advanced to the 3R at the Australian Open (l. to Anderson in 5 sets) and the QF in both Montpellier (l. to Janowicz) and Marseille (l. to Tsonga). He reached the 2R in Indian Wells with victory over Benjamin Becker (l. to Raonic).
• Roger-Vasselin compiled his best season on Tour in 2013, breaking the top 50 for the first time on October 28. He finished the season at a year-end best No. 52 in singles and No. 17 in doubles, winning 23 singles and 34 doubles matches. 
• Roger-Vasselin’s father, Christophe, reached a career-high No. 29 in the ATP Rankings on August 1, 1983. In that same year he made a run to the SF at Roland Garros
• Roger-Vasselin is 2-15 lifetime against top 10 opponents and 0-2 this year. His last top 10 win came over today’s opponent Wawrinka in the 1R in Basel at the end of 2013.

[1] Rafael Nadal (ESP) vs Denis Istomin (UZB)

FedEx Head 2 Head: Nadal leads 3-0

2010 London / Queen's Club Grass R16 Rafael Nadal 7-6(4) 4-6 6-4
2010 US Open (U.S.A.) Hard R64 Rafael Nadal 6-2 7-6(5) 7-5
2012 Roland Garros (France) Clay R64 Rafael Nadal 6-2 6-2 6-0

Nadal opened his account with a 6-1, 6-3 victory over Lleyton Hewitt, winning 82% of points on serve (33/40). 
• Nadal is making his 10th visit to the Sony Open Tennis (31-8). 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). 
• At Indian Wells, Nadal advanced to the 3R 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 the Spaniard had lifted an ATP title in. 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 five 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).
Istomin advanced to the 3R at the Sony Open Tennis for the first time when he saw off No. 29 seed Dmitry Tursunov 6-7(8), 6-0, 6-3, marking his third victory in four meetings with the Russian this year. Istomin edged past Nicolas Mahut 7-6(8), 7-6(2) in the 1R.
• Istomin is making his fifth appearance in Miami. Before this week he had registered just one win at Crandon Park, defeating Donald Young in the 1R in 2011 (l. to Djokovic in 2R). 
• Istomin reached the QF in Sydney (l. to Tursunov) and Montpellier (l. to Monfils) in the opening six weeks of the season. 
• The top player from Uzbekistan finished 2013 in the top 50 for the third time in four years. His year was highlighted by a seventh career ATP World Tour SF appearance in Memphis (l. to F Lopez). 
• Istomin is 1-23 lifetime against top 10 opposition. His sole win against a top 10 opponent came at Indian Wells in 2012 when he defeated No. 5 Ferrer in the 3R (l. to Del Potro in 4R). 

[10] John Isner (USA) vs [18] Nicolas Almagro (ESP)

FedEx Head 2 Head: Almagro leads 2-1

2011 Wimbledon (Great Britain) Grass R64 Nicolas Almagro 7-6(3) 7-6(5) 6-7(5) 6-3
2012 ESP vs.USA WG SF (Spain) Clay RR Nicolas Almagro 6-4 4-6 6-4 3-6 7-5
2013 Houston (U.S.A.) Clay F John Isner 6-3 7-5

Isner was broken twice as he edged past Donald Young 6-7(5), 6-3, 6-4 to reach the 3R.
• Isner returns to Miami for the seventh time. His best showing was a 4R appearance in 2011 (l. to Anderson). 
• Isner returned to the top 10 in the Emirates ATP Rankings this week after his run to the SF in Indian Wells (l. to Djokovic). The American regained top 10 status for the first time since Sept 24, 2012. That year he ranked in the top 10 for 18 weeks – reaching a career high No. 9 on April 16.
• Isner opened the season with his eighth career ATP World Tour title in Auckland (d. Lu) before retiring in the 1R at 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 at 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 game in ATP World Tour history. Overall, he was 2-2 in finals in 2013.
• Isner played in and won the most TBs (38-18) last year. 
Almagro didn’t face a single BP as he saw off Sam Querrey 6-4, 6-4 to post his first hard-court victory of the season.  
• Almagro contested his first tournament in more than three months in Vina del Mar last month (l. to Fognini 7-6 in 3rd set in SF). He followed on with another SF appearance in Buenos Aires where he lost to David Ferrer for the 15th time in succession. He withdrew from Indian Wells with a right shoulder injury after 1R exits in Rio de Janeiro (l. to Dolgoplov) and Sao Paulo (l. to Debonis). 
• Almagro finished 2013 inside the top 20 for the fourth year in a row (fifth in six years) and reached the QF or better 11 times. His streak of winning an ATP title for seven years in a row came to an end, however, with two runner-up appearances in Houston (l. to Isner) and Barcelona (l. to Nadal).
• Almagro is 16-57 lifetime against top 10 opponents and 0-1 this year. His last top 10 win came against No. 6 Tomas Berdych in Shanghai last October. 

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