Rafael Nadal follows Roger Federer, also quit at Miami Open; Novak Djokovic’s easy road to title seen

Rafael Nadal follows Roger Federer, also quit at Miami Open; Novak Djokovic’s easy road to title seen

Rafael Nadal’s mission to get back to elite form in tennis took another hit Saturday after he quit his match against Damir Dzumhur in the second round of the 2016 Miami Open in the United States.

Nadal, who lost against the Bosnian, 6-2 4-6 0-3 follows rival Roger Federer to the sidelines as the Swiss also had to quit the tournament due to his own injury.

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“I was fine until the end of the second set. Then I was feeling not so good,” Nadal said via the Florida Sun Sentinel post-match, where he led after the first set but completely collapsed again in the final two sets.

“Ï was feeling worse and worse, I felt that I was not safe. I wanted to continue the match but couldn’t.”

Rafael Nadal is the second high-profile tennis player to quit at the Miami Open this year after Federer withdrew from the tournament due to a stomach virus. Federer is coming off a knee surgery and the tournament in Florida would have been his first since his playing at the 2016 Australian Open.

Stan Wawrinka, Federer’s compatriot, also suffered an upset loss to Andrey Kuznetsov, 4-6 3-6 in the second round to put a major dent in the quality of tennis in Miami as the third to fourth seeds have now been lost either to injury or early exit.

Without Federer, Nadal and Wawrinka, top seed and World No. 1 Novak Djokovic has now a clear path to the Miami Open title, his sixth overall in the ATP tournament in Florida.

Djokovic’s remaining top rival would be Andy Murray, who won over Denis Istomin, 6-3 7-5 in his second round match-up. Murray, the second seed, and Djokovic will meet in the final of the 2016 Miami Open if they avoid upsets in this tournament.

Nadal’s early exit is another disappointing development for the Spaniard, who is trying to return to top form and be among the elite players in tennis like Djokovic, Murray and Federer.

Rafael Nadal has continued to suffer from various injuries in recent months and it appears he is still far off from the form that made him one of the most feared players in the ATP tour.

Photo courtesy: Brett Marlow/Wikimedia Commons