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Nadal & Sharapova Advance At Ericsson

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Rafael Nadal

KEY BISCAYNE, FL – MARCH 27: Rafael Nadal of Spain in action against Kei Nishikori of Japan during Day 9 of the Sony Ericsson Open at Crandon Park Tennis Center on March 27, 2012 in Key Biscayne, Florida. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

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KEY BISCAYNE, Fla. (CBSMiami/AP) – It looks like Rafael Nadal is trying to buck his recent history at the Sony Ericsson Open on Key Biscayne.

The three-time runner-up at the tournament swept five consecutive games in the middle of his match to help him reach the quarterfinals of the tournament. Nadal finished off Kei Nishikor 6-4, 5-4 in straight sets.

Nadal, the number two men’s player in the world, is seeking his first title ever at the Sony Ericsson and his first victory anywhere since last year’s French Open.

Nadal took a medical timeout late in the opening set to have his left leg wrapped by a trainer. He has been bothered by a sore knee since Indian Wells, where he lost to Roger Federer in the semifinals two weeks ago.

“I am not probably in perfect condition today with the left knee,” he said. “But the important thing is to try to win as many matches as possible. For me this is an important tournament, and every victory has very, very big value for me, especially without being perfect.”

Second-ranked Maria Sharapova became the first semifinalist when she drubbed reigning French Open champion Li Na 6-3, 6-0. Sharapova had lost their previous four meetings. Sharapova is also looking for her first Sony Ericsson title, she’s finished second in 2005, 2006, and 2011.

Ninth-ranked Janko Tipsarevic made the quarterfinals by beating 20-year-old Grigor Dimitrov 7-6 (3), 6-2.

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