Two years ago in Madrid, Roger Federer and Nick Kyrgios played a memorable match that went down to the wire, with Nick prevailing by 14-12 in the final set tie break. A few weeks ago he had to give Roger a walkover due to an injury in Indian Wells but he was ready to compete here in Miami, as they played another 3-tie break match that lasted 3 hours and 10 minutes! After all kind of drama and excitement, Roger won the match 7-6(9) 6-7(9) 7-6(5) for his 4th Miami final and the first since 2006! There, he will play his great rival Rafael Nadal on Sunday (Roger beat him in 2005 final, overcoming 2 sets to love deficit) in already their third match of the new season and we should get another epic encounter between two players that marked the world of tennis in the last 12 or 13 years.
We saw only two breaks of serve, one on each side in the first set, and there were only 7 deuces in sets 2 and 3, as they kept their serve jealousy to push each other to the limits. In the end, Roger won the final set tie break by 7-5, as Nick double faulted at 5-5 to ruin his chances of reaching his first Masters 1000 final.
This win propelled Roger to almost picture perfect 18-1 score in 2017, his best start of the year since 2006, and for the first time in 11 years he reached the final of Australian Open, Indian Wells, and Miami in the same season, with a chance to grab them all, just like in 2006.
Also, this will be his 44th Masters 1000 final, leaving his great rivals Nadal and Djokovic on 43. In what will be remembered as one of the best matches of the season, as they both threw everything they had to create an encounter that will hardly be forgotten.
Roger had 54 winners and 39 unforced errors, facing only two break points in the entire match, while Nick stood on a 38-34 ratio, which is also great considering how thrilling the match was and how much it lasted. Nick had a slim lead in the shortest points (92-85) but Roger showed his class in those that lasted over 4 shots, with 55-38.
18-time Grand Slam champion had 7 break points (5 in the first set) but he managed to convert only 1, as Nick kept himself in the match, simply refusing to give up before he was obstructed by the crowd in his last service point, when he double faulted to give Roger that crucial mini-break he was looking for.
Once again, Nick demonstrated his immense talent and a great tennis package that contains shot-making, athleticism, improvisation, courage, the ability to bring his A game against the biggest rivals and of course his serve, but that just wasn't enough against Roger tonight.
The players needed some time to find the right rhythm in the opening set and Nick really had to work hard to make the tie break, facing 5 break points in total. Roger was off to a great start, dropping just two points in the opening 3 service games, and he wasted 3 break points in the first two return games, missing a chance to build an early lead.
Instead of that, Kyrgios broke him in game 7 to go 5-3 up, and he forced 3 deuces in the following return game but Roger managed to hold, which will prove to be very important. Kyrgios got broken at love while serving for the set in game 10 and he had to save a set point in game 12 before they entered a tie break.
It was a wild one, just the previous one they played in Madrid, and Roger grabbed it by 11-9, saving two set points and scoring two mini-breaks in the final two return points, as Nick had a serve to take the set. The second set was more fluid and despite losing only 7 points in his games Federer found himself on the losing side, by an identical score in the tie break! He had 4 straight holds at love and a huge opportunity to break Nick in game 7 and close the match much earlier than he did, but the Aussie refused to surrender, fending them off to stay in touch and force another tie break.
It could hardly be more dramatic, as Nick saved two match points at 5-6 and 7-8 to hang in before he converted his 3rd set point to steal the breaker by 11-9 and force a decider after an ace. The final set saw no break points (3 deuces on Nick's serve) and even though the intense dropped a little bit they were still on a very high note, setting the tone for the final set tie break.
Roger lost just 6 points in his 6 service games and he was looking to win another final set tie break, just like against Tomas Berdych a day earlier. Nick opened it in a stronger fashion, scoring a mini-break for a 3-1 lead, but Roger annulled that when he leveled the score at 3-3, as every point until the end of the match carried a huge importance.
Kyrgios got another chance to finish on the victorious side, with another mini-break in his bag, leading 5-4, only to lose the next two points on serve, finding himself 6-5 down after that fatal double fault. Roger didn't miss his opportunity, though, firing a service winner that brought him the match after a titanic battle, proving his greatness once again and setting up the 37th meeting with Rafael Nadal, winning the previous 3 matches against his nemesis.
Semi-final result: Roger Federer (SUI) vs Nick Kyrgios (AUS) 7-6(9) 6-7(9) 7-6(5) ALSO READ: Has David Ferrer's game fizzled out?