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Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal to Meet in Sony Masters Final After Withdrawals

KEY BISCAYNE, FL - MARCH 26:  Novak Djokovic of Serbia after his straight sets victory against Andy Murray of Great Britain during their quarter final round match during day 10 at the Sony Open at Crandon Park Tennis Center on March 26, 2014 in Key Biscayne, Florida.  (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)
Clive Brunskill/Getty Images
Timothy RappFeatured ColumnistMarch 28, 2014

Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic didn't break a sweat in their semifinals at the Sony Masters on Friday.

Literally.

The pair advanced to the tournament's final after Kei Nishikori and Tomas Berdych were forced to withdraw before their respective matches. From ESPN:

Novak Djokovic will now play Rafael Nadal in the Miami Masters final after both players received walkovers through their respective semi-final clashes on Friday.

Djokovic had been due to face Kei Nishikori but the Japanese player withdrew less than two hours before their Key Biscayne clash because of a left groin injury. Nadal received a straight path to the final after his semi-final opponent Tomas Berdych pulled out with gastroenteritis.

Nishikori posted the following to his Facebook page later in the day:

You have to feel for Nishikori, especially after he knocked out Roger Federer to get to this point. Jon Wertheim of Sports Illustrated joked that beating Federer perhaps hexed Nishikori:

It's the second walkover of the tournament for Djokovic, as Florian Mayer also withdrew from their third-round match.

Still, despite the poor fortunes of Nishikori and Berdych, this is the final everyone wanted to see. Djokovic already ousted Andy Murray in this tournament. Now, he'll get his chance to knock off Nadal, too.

The Djokovic-Nadal rivalry is slowly reaching the level of the previous huge rivalry in the game between Nadal and Federer. Nadal currently leads the series, 22-17, though Djokovic has won the last two meetings. Nadal, however, has won the last three Grand Slam matches they've played against one another.

Just how tight is this rivalry? In 2013, the pair split six meetings, winning three apiece. Very little separates these players.

Djokovic is hot right now, having won nine matches in a row and his last tournament at Indian Wells. Of course, Nadal has won two titles this year and reached the Australian Open final, so he isn't exactly in poor form, either.

As always, the two should put on an exciting, tight match. And yes, they'll probably break a sweat.

 

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