After Kei Nishikori's shock win over Roger Federer in the Miami Sony Open quarterfinals, there were talks about Milos Raonic causing a similar upset against world no.1 Rafael Nadal. The talk gained momentum when Nadal went down 4-6 in the first set but he eventually pulled off a 4-6, 6-2, 6-4 victory against the Canadian, returning serves at his best.
The Raonic's strength has been the ability to strike aces at will, and he is most likely to be among the top 10, come the ranking announcements on Monday.
"There is always the pressure to play against a big server like Milos," Nadal said. "When you are a set down and only have one break, you do not have time to relax. I was lucky to have the advantage at the beginning of the second set when Milos double-faulted."
Where to Watch Live: Rafael Nadal vs Tomas Berdrych; Novak Djokovic vs Kei Nishikori
The day's proceedings will start at 3.00 pm local time (12.30 am IST). The live coverage will be on Ten Sports in India, and ESPN in the US and Australia. For online viewers, the matches can be live streamed HERE, HERE or HERE.
Raonic's double faults in the second set gave Nadal a 3-0 lead and there was no stopping the Spaniard from then on. A relieved Nadal will now face Tomas Berdych in the semifinals, and will look to continue his streak of 16 wins against the world no.7.
"For me to be in semifinals after losing early in Indian Wells is very important for my confidence," Nadal added with clarity. "The difference between quarterfinals and semifinals is a lot, and tomorrow [Friday] I have another day to try to keep playing better."
Second seed Novak Djokovic also did not have it easy on the court as he faced defending champion Andy Murray. The Serb eventually came on top as he knocked out the Scot 7-5, 6-3 in the quarterfinals on Thursday.
The world no. 2 will now face Nishikori in the semifinals. In 2011, when Djokovic came on the back of an Indian Wells victory, he won the title at Miami too. He will be hoping to achieve a similar feat this time around, having defeated Roger Federer in the final at Indian Wells two weeks ago.
"That tournament [Indian Wells ATP Masters] win is very special for me from a mental point of view, because I struggled throughout the whole tournament, did not play on a very high level, had to fight back in many matches from set down," Djokovic said. "I managed to win that tournament knowing that I haven't played my best tennis.
"That gives me even more confidence and self belief that I need in this moment, and I feel that here in Miami I'm playing better. But still it's not on the level that I want it to be, but it's progressing and developing as the tournament goes on."