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Nadal wins in 1000th match, Raonic withdraws

Mar 26, 2017; Miami, FL, USA; Fernando Verdasco of Spain hits a forehand against Kei Nishikori of Japan (not pictured) on day six of the 2017 Miami Open at Crandon Park Tennis Center. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 26, 2017; Miami, FL, USA; Fernando Verdasco of Spain hits a forehand against Kei Nishikori of Japan (not pictured) on day six of the 2017 Miami Open at Crandon Park Tennis Center. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

REUTERS - Rafa Nadal celebrated his 1,000th tour level match with a come-from-behind victory over German veteran Philipp Kohlschreiber to reach the fourth round of the Miami Open on Sunday.

World number 31 Kohlschreiber was on fire early, ripping through the first set in only 21 minutes but fifth seed Nadal flipped the switch and turned the match on its head to prevail 0-6 6-2 6-3 on the main stadium hardcourt at Crandon Park.

It was the first time Nadal had failed to win a game in the first set of an ATP tour match since 2008, the ATP said.

The 30-year-old Spaniard ignited the near-capacity crowd with his typically determined comeback to clinch his 822nd career victory.

He joins a small group of 11 players headed by Jimmy Connors (1,535) to have played at least 1,000 matches.

While Nadal played in the relative comfort of the late afternoon, Kei Nishikori also took three sets and nearly three hours to advance under a high noon sun, outlasting Spain's Fernando Verdasco 7-6(2) 6-7(5) 6-1.

Nishikori, the runner-up to Novak Djokovic last year, fired 37 winners but Verdasco, aided by persistent swirling winds, used his varying pace and depth to rattle Japan's number one, inducing 48 unforced errors.

Verdasco rallied to force a first set tiebreak after trailing 3-0 but Nishikori's lunging half-volley backhand winner enabled him to take the set.

Nishikori served for the match at 5-4 in the second set but Verdasco saved a match point to break back and eventually forced a decider with a scorching cross-court backhand.

Milos Raonic withdrew before his match against American qualifier Jared Donaldson, blaming a persistent hamstring injury.

“It's related to the previous injury I sustained almost four weeks ago ... in Delray Beach,” the Canadian told reporters.

"It's the same muscle in the hamstring, up high. It got progressively worse after my first round. It seemed like it was not possible for me to compete today without putting myself at significant risk."

Raonic said he would not return to the tour until he felt 100 percent fit.

"That could be in two weeks, that could be a little bit longer."

(Reporting by Gene Cherry and Andrew Both in North Carolina; Editing by Clare Fallon and Ian Ransom)

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