World No. 1 Rafael Nadal is on a hot streak. Those are devastating words to the rest of the players in the 2014 Sony Open. On Monday, Nadal cruised to victory in just 59 minutes, defeating Denis Istomin 6-1, 6-0 in Miami.
This decisive win marks his second dominating performance in the competition. According to Sports Illustrated's Beyond the Baseline, Nadal has been virtually flawless over his first two matches:
Rafael Nadal is looking ruthless. 61 60 over Istomin in 59 minutes, has lost just five games in two matches. Plays either Fognini or RBA.— Beyond The Baseline (@SI_BTBaseline) March 24, 2014
Beyond the Baseline continued to illustrate Nadal's prowess with this tweet:
Nadal hit seven unforced errors in that match. That's pretty darn clean.— Beyond The Baseline (@SI_BTBaseline) March 24, 2014
Christopher Clary of The New York Times put it perfectly, according to his Twitter account:
Denis Istomin is no Novak Djokovic but Nadal just sent a message with that performance. Moving like the Nadal everyone fears— Christopher Clarey (@christophclarey) March 24, 2014
This is most definitely the Nadal that everyone fears.
Why should they? Well, this amazing winner from Monday's match should sum it up pretty nicely:
While Nadal waits for a shot at the quarterfinals, his past performances at the Miami Masters must be lingering in the back of his mind. After all, this is one of the few titles that has escaped Nadal, according to a tweet from Ben Rothenberg of The New York Times:
Nadal has never won Miami, one of three missing jewels from his Masters crown along with Shanghai, Bercy. Looks like the man to beat here.— Ben Rothenberg (@BenRothenberg) March 24, 2014
This year, Nadal looks as poised as ever to get over the hump. He explained to Michelle Kaufman of the Miami Herald that he feels very comfortable in Miami:
This tournament is very special to me because I feel the love and energy of the Latin American people, fans from so many different Latin countries. I have never won the trophy here, but this feels like home to me. I have maximum gratitude for the love I feel here.
His hot streak, along with the comfort of playing in Miami will go a long way for Nadal. In this case, to an elusive Miami Masters title.
Before a title is achieved, Nadal still has work to do. He will face Fabio Fognini, who emerged victorious on Monday night over unseeded Roberto Bautista-Agut, 4-6, 6-3, 6-3, according to Beyond the Baseline:
Rafael Nadal's next opponent will be Fabio Fognini, who wins 46 63 63. Fognini celebrates by kissing his guns as Pennetta laughs. Amazing.— Beyond The Baseline (@SI_BTBaseline) March 24, 2014
Nadal should be a heavy favorite in the upcoming match. Fognini must certainly be happy with his performance on Monday, but should be terrified to see Nadal's name next on his schedule.
Expect Nadal to come away with another dominating victory as he continues to ride his hot streak all the way to the 2014 Sony Open title.