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Explosive Rafa, Serena defy Miami bomb scare

Rafael Nadal

Miami: Unruffled by a bomb scare that locked down the Miami Masters late on Tuesday, world No. 1 Rafael Nadal brushed past Italy’s Fabio Fognini 6-2, 6-2 to join Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer and Andy Murray in the last eight.

Officials announced a suspicious package had been left near the main entrance to the sprawling tennis facility which was quickly locked down, keeping thousands of spectators from entering or leaving while Miami Dade police investigated.

Defending champion Serena Williams closed in on a seventh Miami Masters title with a 6-2, 6-2 quarter final demolition of German Angelique Kerber, a win that came as the Crandon Park tennis facility was locked down due to a bomb scare.

While Serena was shutting down fifth seed Kerber, Miami Dade police were locking down the sprawling tennis complex after a suspicious package was found at the main entrance.

The four-lane traffic was halted in both directions in front of the complex while spectators were prevented from entering or leaving the facility. “Yeah, there was a bomb threat and a lockdown but that’s all I know about it. Scary,” said Serena.

The all clear was given just before Nadal stepped onto the Crandon Park centre court to face Fognini in the final match of the night. The Spaniard showed no signs of being alarmed by the bomb scare as he completed the win in 62 minutes.

Nadal’s great rival Federer was also in cruise control, needing just 49 minutes to dismiss ninth seeded Frenchman Richard Gasquet 6-1, 6-2.

Defending champion Murray, playing his first event since splitting with coach Ivan Lendl last week, has looked increasingly comfortable and confident on his own. He disposed of 11th-seeded Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 6-4 6-1 without facing a single break point.

Even with his surgically repaired back still nowhere near perfect, Murray needed only 73 minutes to beat the Frenchman and set up a quarter final with Djokovic. He’ll need to keep it that way against Djokovic, who eased past Tommy Robredo 6-3, 7-5.

Alexandr Dolgopolov battled to a 6-4, 3-6, 6-1 win over Swiss third seed and Australian Open champion Stanislas Wawrinka, while Kei Nishikori shocked fourth seeded David Ferrer 7-6 (7), 2-6, 7-6 (9).

Serena’s win sets up a semi-final rematch of last year’s final against Maria Sharapova, a five-time runner-up on the Miami hardcourts, who advanced with an equally impressive 7-5, 6-1 win over eighth-seeded Czech Petra Kvitova.