Miami Flashback: Roger Federer edges Nick Kyrgios and passes Rafael Nadal

Roger Federer reached his 44th Masters 1000 final in Miami 2017

by Jovica Ilic
Miami Flashback: Roger Federer edges Nick Kyrgios and passes Rafael Nadal

Roger Federer and Nick Kyrgios played an epic semi-final in Miami 2017, with the Swiss prevailing 7-6, 6-7, 7-6 after three hours and ten minutes. Thus, Federer advanced to his fourth Miami Open final, the first since 2006.

He arranged the meeting with Rafael Nadal and left his great rival and Novak Djokovic on 43 Masters 1000 finals, advancing to his 44th. Federer and Kyrgios broke each other once in the opening set. They stayed neck and neck in the rest of the encounter to reach only seven deuces in sets two and three, serving well and keeping the crowd on the edge of their seats.

Roger claimed the final set tie break 7-5, with Nick hitting a double fault at 5-5 to ruin his chances of reaching his first Masters 1000 final. It was the 18th victory for Roger from 19 matches in 2017. He made his best start of the season since 2006, reaching the final at the Australian Open, Indian Wells and Miami for the first time since the mentioned season.

Roger had 54 winners and 39 unforced errors, facing only two break points. Nick stood on a solid 38-34 ratio, trying to endure all the efforts and cross the finish line first. Kyrgios had a slim lead in the shortest rallies (92-85), and Roger showed his class in the more extended ones, with a 55-38 advantage on his tally.

An 18-time Major champion had seven break chances (only two in sets two and three), converting one as Kyrgios refused to surrender until the last point.

Roger Federer defeated Nick Kyrgios in three tie breaks in Miami 2017.

The Aussie demonstrated his immense talent and a complete tennis package of shot-making, athleticism, improvisation, courage, the ability to bring his A-game against the biggest rivals and his serve.

However, it was not enough against Roger on that glorious Miami night. Players needed some time to find the right rhythm in the opening set, and Nick worked hard to stay alive until the tie break after facing five break chances.

Roger was off to a great start. He dropped just two points in the opening three service games and wasted three break opportunities in the first two return games, missing a chance to build an early lead and gain momentum. Instead, Kyrgios drew first blood with a break in game seven, opening a 5-3 lead and forcing three deuces in the next return game, unable to grab another break and a boost.

The Aussie got broken at love while serving for the set in game ten and saved a set point at 5-6 to enter a tie break. It was wild, just like the previous one they played in Madrid. Roger grabbed it 11-9, fending off two set points and scoring two mini-breaks in the last two return points when Nick served to take the set.

The second set was more fluid. Despite losing only seven points in his games, Federer found himself on the losing side by an identical score in the tie break! He had four straight holds at love and a huge opportunity to break Nick at 3-3 and close the match much earlier.

The Aussie refused to go away, repelling them to stay in touch and forcing another tie break. It could hardly be a more dramatic one. Kyrgios saved two match points at 5-6 and 7-8 to hang in before seizing his third set point to steal the breaker 11-9 and force a decider with an ace.

Despite three deuces on Nick's serve, the final set offered no break chances. Even though the intensity dropped a bit, they were still on a very high note, setting the tone for the final set tie break. Roger lost just six points in six service games, hoping to win another deciding tie break like against Tomas Berdych a day earlier.

Nick opened it more strongly and scored a mini-break for a 3-1 lead before Roger annulled that to lock the result at 3-3, with every remaining point carrying massive weight. Kyrgios got a chance to finish on the victorious side after another mini-break in his bag, leading 5-4 but losing the following two points on serve to find himself 6-5 down after a fatal double fault.

Roger took advantage of his opportunity. He fired a service winner that brought him victory after a titanic battle. The Swiss proved his greatness once again and set the 37th meeting against Rafael Nadal, winning the previous three clashes against the Spaniard.

Roger Federer Nick Kyrgios Rafael Nadal