The world no. 5 and three-time Miami champion Roger Federer has moved one win away from the fourth title in Florida following a thrilling 6-2, 6-4 triumph over a teenager Denis Shapovalov in just an hour and 13 minutes! Playing against each other for the first time, the young Canadian was unable to challenge his childhood idol and fight for the place in the first Masters 1000 final, struggling to find the rhythm from the very first game of the match and trailing all the time.
It was another dominant display from the Swiss who did just about everything right on the court, using every opportunity to attack and overpowering the rival on both the serve and return to earn the 373rd Masters 1000 win in a career.
Serving at only 49%, Federer lost eight points in his games, erasing two break points he faced to mount the pressure on the other side of the net that Denis failed to endure. The Canadian couldn't do much on the second serve and he got broken three times from 11 opportunities given to Roger, ending another solid Masters 1000 run in the semi-final.
Federer finished the match with 17 winners and eight unforced errors, taming his shots beautifully and leaving Shapovalov on a 14-29 ratio, with the youngster spraying mistakes from both wings equally. Also, Roger had a clear advantage in both the shortest, mid-range and most extended exchanges to wrap up the win in style and secure the place in the final.
Both players served under 45% in the opening set with one striking difference, with Federer losing just four points behind the initial shot against 19 that Denis gave away, facing seven break points and suffering two breaks to sent Roger clearly in front.
From 40-15 up in the opening game, the youngster started to struggle and Federer was there to force six deuces and a break point that the Canadian saved with a solid attack, bringing the game home after ten minutes! On the other hand, Roger held at love in game two and the youngster had to serve again just two minutes after he closed the first service game, sending a backhand miles away from the court to Roger the first break of serve.
Returning from inside the court, the Swiss secured another break in game five to open a 4-1 lead after just 23 minutes against the rival who was overwhelmed by the occasion and the opponent on the other side of the net, making one error after another.
Denis fended off two set points on serve in the seventh game before Federer clinched the opener with a service winner a few minutes later, moving 6-2 up after 35 minutes and building the momentum before the set number two where he was the favorite to seal the deal in straight sets and advance into the final.
Out of sudden, the Swiss was forced to play against a couple of break points in the second game of the second set, fending them off with winners and closing the game with a solid smash to keep serve intact and bring the pressure back to the other side of the net.
The master broke the apprentice in the third game after a forehand error from Shapovalov and that was all Roger needed to move over the top, delivering three straight holds at love and creating a match point on the return at 5-3.
Shapovalov managed to save it and extend the set before Federer crossed the finish line with another commanding hold in game ten, racing into the record-breaking 50th Masters 1000 final and setting the title clash against John Isner on Sunday, seeking the 28th Masters 1000 crown.