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Monday, 26th March 2012
In Japan Sports News,

Nishikori sets up showdown with Nadal

Japan's top tennis player Kei Nishikori has set up a match against world number two Rafael Nadal in the last 16 of the Sony Ericsson Open in Miami.

Nishikori easily dismissed the Czech Lukas Rosol in straight sets, beating him 6-4, 6-2 in just over an hour.

The 22-year-old world number 17 served excellently, winning 78 per cent of points on his own serve to easily overcome the 26-year-old in the third round on Sunday (March 25th).

"I thought I served well, and my ground strokes were consistent," he told the Mainichi Daily.

"I knew his weak point was his forehand so that's where I tried to get him. I'm glad I'm through in straight sets."

Nishikori will go into the encounter with Nadal full of optimism following such a comfortable victory and hoping to exact revenge on a player he is yet to beat in his career.

He has succumbed to Nadal's power in each of their three previous encounters, including a second-round match at this same tournament in 2011.

Meanwhile, the Spaniard Nadal beat the 25th seed Radek Stepanek in even simpler fashion, emerging victorious in a 6-2, 6-2 match to set up the fourth-round tie on Tuesday.

Despite facing break points on two occasions, the former world number one held off both challenges before breaking Stepanek's serve twice in each set for his sixth successive victory against the Czech.

There will be added impetus for Nadal, with the Crandon Park trophy one of the few he is yet to collect in his stunning career.

With three runners-up medals from 2005, 2008 and 2011, he will face the 16th seed hoping to put an end to his second-best status at the Miami tournament.

First, however, he has to overcome an in-form Nishikori and Nadal has no illusions as to the task he faces.

"He's a fantastic player and it will be a very difficult match for me," he said.