Rafael Nadal, Spain's no. 1, is trying to make his way up to his top game using that particular fighting spirit that is present at his very core. In Miami, Nadal never won the men's singles contest despite playing several finals over the past years. There is a decent shot in 2017 for him having the winners of the past editions, Djokovic and Muray, both sidelined due to elbow injuries. Even so, for Nadal, this Masters might not be the real deal as the clay court swing is knocking at the door. Moreover, the European clay brings up an extra weight as the Spaniard must defend last year's results in order to keep himself up in the ranking.

Despite having a busy schedule ahead, Nadal didn't spare any drop of energy on his latest showdown in Miami having to deal with a stubborn and apparently well-grounded German player.

Nadal was on the verge of humiliation

Rafael Nadal (7 ATP) vs Philipp Kohlschreiber (31 ATP) was supposed to be a well-proportioned encounter. In a matter of minutes, the opening set went way beyond the general comprehension. A certain level of ferocity was obvious from the German side of the net pulling Nadal beyond the baseline with no pace at all from the Spaniard. It ended with a bagel set 6-0 for Kohlschreiber letting the crowd as well as the Spaniard with no proper words to describe it. Despite having great skills, and a Federer-like pattern of play, the German is also known for his lack of consistency which became obvious in the 2nd set.

It was all that Nadal needed to reclaim the court, few unforced errors from the German allowed Nadal to win the next 2 sets 6-2 6-3. In the 4th round, Nadal will face Nicolas Mahut of France. The Frenchman got past Guido Pella (158 ATP) in the previous round.

Almost a year without a title

It's been almost 12 months since Nadal made his last statement as a title holder on the ATP circuit.

Last spring, during the clay court, Nadal put himself on a vibrating path winning 2 ATP titles in a row. First, it was the success in Monte Carlo, immediately followed by Barcelona. A prodigious run that ended up unexpectedly when Nadal withdrew from the 3rd round of the French Open due to a wrist injury. The same injury forced him to let down Wimbledon and almost the rest of the season. It would be quite a stunning way to end this prolonged drought by prevailing on a forbidden territory so far.