'One thousand matches is a lot of matches. Obviously that's good news because that says I am having a long career.'
Rafael 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 hard court 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 a 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.
"One thousand matches is a lot of matches. Obviously that's good news because that says I am having a long career," Nadal told reporters.
"During a lot of years, I heard that I'm going to have a short career, so it's something important for me. I remember the first match very well because it was at home in Mallorca. It was my first victory on the ATP and was a great feeling."
Nadal said he had not done much wrong in the first set against an opponent who was in the zone.
"He was doing everything good, so that's sport. I lose the set because he was playing too good. That's it.
"But a match is long and the positive thing is I held the pressure well this afternoon after a very tough first set. I resisted well in the first few games of the second set and then I think I played a great second and third set."
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.
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.
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."
Kerber cruises into fourth round; Keys loses
Top seed Angelique Kerber advanced to the fourth round at the Miami Open on Sunday, but eighth seed Madison Keys was sent packing.
On a day when Svetlana Kuznetsova and Venus Williams also won their third-round matches, Kerber did not have it all her own way against 61st-ranked American Shelby Rogers.
The German, however, proved too strong ultimately, breaking five times for a 6-4, 7-5 win on the main stadium hardcourt at CrandonPark.
"It's always good to have close sets, especially when you win them at the end. They give you confidence that you can go out in your next match knowing you can win close matches because you've just done it a day ago,” Kerber told reporters.
“You win the match, you're always happy about your performance.
"In the second set, she was 4-2 up and we'd played a long game. That was important because she was playing well, but I was staying positive and believing in my chances. I think that was the key to the match."
Keys fell to 72nd-ranked Spaniard Lara Arruabarrena 7-5, 7-5. She was playing her second tournament since returning from wrist surgery.
Russian seventh seed Kuznetsova, the runner-up last year, stayed on track for another tilt at the championship when she bested American qualifier Taylor Townsend 6-4, 6-2.
A week after losing the Indian Wells final to compatriot Elena Vesnina, Kuznetsova’s stronger second serve proved the difference, as she was broken just once while breaking her opponent four times.
The next challenge for 2006 champion Kuznetsova will be 11th seed Venus Williams, a three-time Miami champion, who was far too good for Romanian qualifier Patricia Maria Tig 6-3, 6-0.
British 10th seed Johanna Konta and Australian 14th seed Sam Stosur also won their third round matches.