Miami: Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal meet for the third time in 2017 as their rivalry reaches encounter number 37 at the scene of their very first in Miami as they contest Sunday’s final.

The legendary pair have once again defied the field, as well as age and physical demands to emerge from one of the year’s strongest fields to battle it out for the title.

Federer has beaten his Spanish foe on route to both his titles this year, the small matter of Grand Slam number 18 at the Australian Open and Masters title number 25 at Indian Wells just a couple of weeks ago.

Those two victories mean that Federer has won three successive meetings between the pair, amazingly a feat he has achieved for the first time in his career.

On Sunday, the pair will meet for a fourth time in Miami with Nadal leading 2-1 although their only final in Key Biscayne came in 2005 when Federer emerged victorious.

Roger Federer(Left) & Rafael Nadal( Right) meet in Miami Open final on Sunday
Roger Federer(Left) & Rafael Nadal( Right) meet in Miami Open final on Sunday

The pair met for the first at Crandon Park in 2004 when a teenage Nadal beat a 22-year-old Federer in straight sets.

The Swiss great is chasing a third Miami crown but hasn’t won the title since he claimed back-to-back titles in Florida with success in 2005 and 2006, while Nadal is a four-time runner-up at an event, which is one of the few he has not claimed.

Nadal famously leads the head to head, while he also has the upper hand when it comes to Masters titles but at the 1000 level they both trail Novak Djokovic’s total of 30.

A win for Nadal will take him to within one of the Serb but he has not won a Masters event away from the clay since Cincinnati in 2013 while Federer is chasing back-to-back Masters for the first time since 2014.