Rafael Nadal was put to a fourth-round test for the second straight Masters 1000 event before prevailing over Stanislas Wawrinka 7-6(2), 7-6(4) in two hours and 43 minutes, Tuesday at the Sony Ericsson Open.
Nadal Battles Past Wawrinka; Murray Looks For Vengeance
ATP World Tour Champion Rafael Nadal was made to work hard for a 7-6(2), 7-6(4) victory over Swiss No. 16 seed Stanislas Wawrinka on Tuesday evening to reach the quarter-finals of the Sony Ericsson Open, an ATP World Tour Masters 1000 tennis tournament in Miami.
With 12 games unable to separate the players in the first set, Nadal had the edge in the tie-break to win it 7-2 and assume a one-set lead. However, Wawrinka continued to work hard and his perseverance was rewarded with the first break of the match in the third game of the second set, enabling him to open up a 3-1 lead.
From 2-4 down, Nadal rallied to win the next three games, robbing Wawrinka of his advantage before earning four match points with the Swiss serving at 4-5. Wawrinka stood firm to hold for 5-5 before the match progressed to a second tie-break, which Nadal clinched 7-4 with a backhand cross-court passing shot after two hours and 43 minutes of intense action.
"I improved a lot today in the match," said Nadal. "I was very focused and I played two good tie-breakers, so that's very good. I am really happy right now. Sure, I can play better. You can't play always at 100%, but today I am happy."
It marked the second straight ATP World Tour Masters 1000 tennis tournament that the 22-year-old Majorcan was put to the test in the fourth round. Two weeks ago in Indian Wells, he saved five match points against Argentine David Nalbandian at the same stage before going on to clinch his 13th ATP World Tour Masters 1000 title.
The left-hander is striving for his first Sony Ericsson Open crown after twice being denied in the title match – losing to Roger Federer in five sets in 2005 and succumbing to an inspired Nikolay Davydenko last year.
Nadal takes a 4-0 career lead into his quarter-final clash with sixth-seeded Argentine Juan Martin del Potro, who broke serve five times as he dismissed Spanish No. 11 seed David Ferrer 6-3, 6-2 in 79 minutes. The two last met in the Indian Wells quarter-finals two weeks ago, when Nadal prevailed 6-2, 6-4.