Rafael Nadal marched into the final of the Miami Open with a 6-1 7-5 win over Italian Fabio Fognini and could now meet old foe Roger Federer once again.
The Spaniard reached the final at Crandon Park Tennis Center for the fifth time in the Masters series event and can now bid to end a sequence of Miami final defeats dating back to 2005.
He could come up against Federer, who plays rising Australian talent Nick Kyrgios in the other semi-final on Friday.
The Swiss great beat Nadal in an Australian Open final thriller in January to claim an 18th Grand Slam title and he swept past Nadal in straight sets in the fourth round at Indian Wells this month.
“To be in the final again is something fantastic. I think I played a great first set, it’s true Fabio had some mistakes, but I think I played solid and aggressive” said Nadal, who won 83 per cent of his first serves and 80 per cent on his second.
“I will try to be ready for the final. It’s just another day. If I’m able to win in Miami it will be something great and something important to add to my career. I feel competitive every week which makes me happy.”
The unseeded Fognini struggled to get going in the first set which was dominated by fifth-seeded Nadal and over within 25 minutes.
The Italian, who indicated he had some trouble with his elbow, put up a better response in the second but his work was undone when he double-faulted on break point, leaving the Spaniard to serve out for the win and get the better of his opponent for an eighth time.
Federer triumphed in their meeting in the final 12 years ago, before Nadal lost to Nikolay Davydenko in 2008, then Novak Djokovic in both 2011 and 2014, but the 30-year-old will bid to make it fifth time lucky on Sunday.