ItalyÈs Fabio Fognini has provided the Miami Masters semi-final line-up with the most unlikely of contenders for the title following his dismissal of the second seed Kei Nishikori at the quarter-final stage.
I am very happy, IÈm in the semifinal, IÈm playing well and I feel good again on the court
As a consequence, the Italian who has achieved 13 as his highest ranking but currently languishes on the 40 mark, will face Rafa Nadal, the Spaniard who is still chasing his first Miami title.
The 29-year-old Fognini is unseeded and he showed no signs of being overawed by a higher ranked player as he retained his focus to deliver his first win over the Japanese star in four meetings.
His progress into the last four as a result of his 6-4 6-2 victory means he has reached the semi-finals of a Masters event for only the second time in his career. His only previous appearance at that stage was in 2013 when he made the Monte Carlo Masters semis which is staged on clay, his favourite surface.
It should be noted that Nishikori had picked up a knee injury during his fourth round match and looked to be impairing his movement but Fognini brushed that aside intimating a win was a win!
"I wasnÈt 100%, physically, I mean, it was tough conditions for me," Nishikori said, referring to the heat which prevailed over the stadium court.
"But it was also same for him, too. He was playing a lot of the long matches, but I think he still played good enough to beat me today," he added.
Fognini couldnÈt hold back his delight following his win. "It wasnÈt easy and I was just focused on my game. I am very happy, IÈm in the semifinal, IÈm playing well and I feel good again on the court," he said.
Meanwhile his next opponent Nadal looked to be in great form as he brushed aside Jack Sock of the US 6-2 6-3 to stay on track for his first ever Miami Open crown.
The 30-year-old Spaniard has never won in Miami despite being a four-time finalist, and his win opens up the possibility of a meeting in the final with his long-standing rival Roger Federer.
On Thursday, Federer takes on Czech tenth-seed Tomas Berdych while the last quarter-final pits GermanyÈs Alexander Zverev against AustraliaÈs Nick Kyrgios.