2 & 2
Rafa defeated Fabio Fognini 6-2, 6-2 to advance to the Miami quarterfinals. Owing to the wind, Rafa’s hitting wasn’t quite as clean as compared to his two previous matches, there were still plenty of moments like this:
It was a strange match overall because Fognini only seemed to be trying about 20% of the time (during which he actually hit some nice shots, but then that was quickly followed by random swatting at balls and subsequent throwing of racquets, dramatic self-dialogue, etc.). As Rafa says below, the key was for him to just focus on his own game and try to forget about what Fabio was doing, which he did with great success.
Next up is Raonic, who beat Sock, Garcia-Lopez, and Becker to advance to the quarterfinals. Playing a big server is never particularly comfortable for Rafa, although then again, he has excellent records against pretty much all of them, including Raonic, and the alternatives for quarterfinal opponents–Berdych, Murray, Federer, Nishikori, Dolgopolov–wouldn’t have exactly been walks in the park either. I’ve been getting a very “Montreal ’13″ vibe from Rafa throughout this tournament with his focused, aggressive, high-quality play (and perhaps related to that, the sense that he is out to prove something/re-set after a tough loss), and so hopefully his result against Raonic (and for the tournament) will continue in that vein.