In the semi-final of the first Miami Open at Hard Rock Stadium a year ago, the three-time champion Roger Federer toppled the young gun Denis Shapovalov 6-2, 6-4 in an hour and 13 minutes. The Canadian couldn't make an impression against his childhood idol in their first clash on the Tour, with the Swiss securing place in the milestone 50th Masters 1000 final, becoming the first player who achieved that and leaving Rafael Nadal on 49.
It was another dominant display from the veteran who did just about everything right on the court, using every opportunity to attack and overpowering the opponent on both serve and return to collect the 373rd Masters 1000 victory.
Serving at only 49%, Federer lost eight points behind the initial shot, erasing two break chances to mount the pressure on the other side of the net, the one Denis failed to endure. The Canadian couldn't do much on the second serve, getting broken three times from 11 opportunities offered to Roger and completing another compact 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 to drift far away from the positive result.
Also, Roger had a clear advantage in both the shortest (38-31), mid-range (21-10) and most extended exchanges (8-4) to wrap up the triumph in style and secure the place in the final. Both players served under 45% in the opener, only with one striking difference, as Federer lost four points in his games against 19 that Denis gave away, facing seven break chances and suffering two breaks to sent Roger miles in front.
From 40-15 up in the first game, the youngster started to struggle and Federer was there to force six deuces and a break chance that the Canadian saved with a solid attack, bringing the game home after ten minutes to avoid an early deficit!
On the other hand, Roger held at love in game two and found the range on the return in the next one to clinch the first break when Denis sprayed a massive backhand mistake. Returning from inside the court and taking the ball early, the Swiss secured another break in game five to open a 4-1 lead after swift 23 minutes, ruling the court against the opponent who couldn't forget who is on the other side of the net.
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 ahead of set number two, looking like a clear favorite to bring the victory home in no time at all.
Out of sudden, the Swiss had to play against a couple of break chances 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. The master broke the apprentice in the third game after a forehand error from Shapovalov, making a crucial move and delivering three straight holds at love before 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, in the quest for the 28th Masters 1000 title.