Roger Federer and Tomas Berdych battled in the 2017 Miami Open quarter-final. The Swiss scored a 6-2, 3-6, 7-6 triumph in an hour and 57 minutes after fending off two match points in the deciding tie break. Roger secured his 17th victory from 18 matches in 2017 and advanced into the last four in Miami for the first time in six years.
It was their 24th meeting and the 18th win for Roger, the seventh in a row. Tomas claimed a set against the great rival for the first time since Dubai 2014. Like many times before, the Czech crumbled under pressure in the decisive moments, losing the final set tie break after squandering two match points at 6-4.
As a result suggests, there was nothing to separate the two rivals. Tomas won two points more than Roger but failed to close the encounter on one of those match points. Federer was more efficient behind the second serve, while Berdych played better on the first, saving many break chances with service winners.
The Swiss star had eight break opportunities. He converted three to find himself in an excellent position to seal the win in the final set's ninth game and avoid further struggle. Nonetheless, Tomas bounced back to push his opponent to the limits, failing to find that last stroke that could have sent him to the winning side.
Both players had 37 winners (Tomas was excellent from both wings, Roger mainly from his forehand side), but the Czech made five more errors, 27 to Roger's 22. Berdych had a slight advantage in the shortest points, and Federer responded by playing a bit better in the more extended exchanges to deliver a match to remember.
Roger Federer saved match points vs. Tomas Berdych to enter the 2017 Miami semi-final.
Roger made a strong statement right from the start, breaking in the match's opening game thanks to some crafty defense and Tomas' forehand mistake.
Federer saved a break point in the next game with an ace and had no difficulties in the next three service games to bring the opener safely home. He broke Berdych again in game seven with an unreal backhand slice drop shot that left Tomas with no answer and clinched the set after only 26 minutes with an ace in the next one.
The 10th seed and a former finalist raised his level in set number two to keep his serve untroubled. He stole Roger's serve at 4-3 when the Swiss hit a forehand long. Berdych claimed the set in the next game after a great last point, setting an exciting decider after 59 minutes.
The final set saw the ultimate drama, despite an excellent position for Roger to seal the deal earlier. The Swiss pushed hard on the return and grabbed a break in game six for a 4-2 advantage, serving for the triumph at 5-3.
Suddenly, Tomas pulled the break back at love to extend the match and his chances. The Czech made another strong push in game ten, saving a match point behind the initial shot to lock the result at 5-5 and reach a tie break.
They opened it with four mini-breaks before Tomas got another to move 5-4 in front. Berdych won the next point on serve for a 6-4 lead and two match points. He wasted the first when his forehand found the net, and Federer fended off the second with a precious service winner.
Thus, the Swiss locked the result at 6-6 and gained a boost. Ace number 11 sent Roger 7-6 in front, with his second match point up for grabs. Tomas hit a double fault for a heartbreaking loss and a real anticlimax of a solid two hours of tennis on Miami Centre court.
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