Roger Federer and Nick Kyrgios met for the third time in 2018 in the Stuttgart semi-final. The Swiss prevailed 6-7, 6-2, 7-6 to advance into the 148th ATP final and the first at this event. Roger sealed the deal in an hour and 51 minutes, never facing a break point and dominating the second set when he broke Nick twice.
The Aussie bounced back in the decider and followed the rival's pace to reach a tie break. Federer stayed calm and claimed it 7-5 for a place in the final and the ATP throne. Nick and Roger had embraced nine sets at that point, and only one did not reach a tie break!
Nick hit 23 aces but could not defend his second serve as Roger did. Federer lost eight points on serve in the opening set, and Nick grabbed three of those return points when he needed them the most in the tie break to clinch it 7-2 and gain the advantage.
The Aussie saved a break chance with a volley winner in game two to avoid an early setback before hitting a double fault to give Roger another opportunity at 3-4. A powerful serve got Nick out of jail, and they both served well in the remaining games to set up a tie break.
Kyrgios opened it with two service winners and grabbed a mini-break in the fourth point when he forced Roger's error with good backhands.
Roger Federer prevailed over Nick Kyrgios in Stuttgart 2018.
Two more service winners pushed the Aussie 5-2 up, and a backhand winner gave him another mini-break and four set points.
He converted the first to take the opening set in style, hoping for more of the same in set number two. It was the other way around, though, as Roger served at 72% and dropped two points behind the initial shot, too much for Nick to handle.
The Aussie served under 50% and lost almost half of the points in his games to experience two breaks. The first break of the match came at 1-1 after Kyrgios' back-to-back double faults. The younger player wasted two game points at 2-4 to suffer another break after a weak forehand and fade from the court in the last 15 minutes.
Three service winners finished the job for Roger in game eight (Nick barely bothered to make an effort on the return), and the match went into a decider. The Swiss played great tennis in the final set, dropping only six points behind his serve and keeping the pressure on the Aussie, who responded nicely to set up an attractive closure.
There were no deuces or break chances, and the best way to determine the winner was to hit another tie break. Kyrgios opened it with a mind-blowing forehand return in the second point before forging a 3-1 advantage with a service winner.
Roger pulled a mini-break back in the next point and moved 5-4 up with a mini-break when Nick sent a forehand into the net. It was not over, though, as Federer missed a forehand in the next point to keep Kyrgios alive, ahead of the match point for one of them.
Staying focused, Roger earned it with a volley winner and moved over the top after a backhand winner to reach the final and claim the ATP throne for the third time in 2018.