Roger Federer is into the Miami Open Semi Finals after saving two match points to overcome Tomas Berdych 6-2, 3-6, 7-6(6) in 1 hour 56 minutes.
The win sees the Swiss go 17-1 for the season to date, and it's the first time he was able to win a deciding third set in Miami since 2009.
Quick Match Recap
Berdych won the toss and elected to serve. He was broken for the first time this week to 30 to get off to the worst possible start. Roger then saved break point en route to consolidating for 2-0.
A love hold from Berdych got him onto the scoreboard, and another followed as he made the score 2-3, but in game 7 Federer played a brilliant game (including that looping drop shot) to break for the second time and serve it out 6-2.
Into set 2 and it was hard to see how Berdych would be able to find a way back into the match. However, the Czech raised his level, by serving better and hitting the cover of the ball when he was able to set his feet. That paid off and he broke for 5-3 after Roger went wide with a forehand and he was able to level things up at a set apiece.
With Berdych serving and returning better set three had lottery written all over it. But it was the Swiss who made the early inroads, holding two break points in game four and eventually converting in game six before holding for a 5-2 lead.
At 5-3 Roger stepped up to serve for it, he lost the first point where his feet seemed to stick to the court. Not sure what happened there, I know some fans were worried about injury there, but I watched the replay it doesn't look like it. Looks like he doesn't pick the ball and isn't able to shift his feet on the court. But that aside, it set the tone for the game as he was broken to love.
Roger then needed to come up with some clutch serving after double faulting at 15-15 5-5, but he reeled off three points in a row to hold. Berdych then held to love to force a deciding tiebreak.
In the breaker, it was Berdych who went up a mini-break, but Federer won both return points for a 2-1 lead. A double fault relinquished his advantage though and at 4-4 Fed went long with a backhand. Berdych then fired down a big serve for a 6-4 lead. He couldn't convert his first match point however as he netted a forehand. Roger then found two clutch serves to lead 7-6 and Berdych hit a horrendous double fault to bow out in quite painful fashion.
|Roger Federer||Tomas Berdych|
|First Serve Percent||58% (46/79)||56% (49/88)|
|1st Serve Points Won||70% (32/46)||78% (38/49)|
|2nd Serve Points Won||58% (19/33)||51% (20/39)|
|Break Points Saved||50% (2/4)||63% (5/8)|
|Service Games Played||14||15|
|1st Serve Return Points Won||22% (11/49)||30% (14/46)|
|2nd Serve Return Points Won||49% (19/39)||42% (14/33)|
|Break Points Converted||38% (3/8)||50% (2/4)|
|Return Games Played||15||14|
|Total Service Points Won||65% (51/79)||66% (58/88)|
|Total Return Points Won||34% (30/88)||35% (28/79)|
|Total Points Won||49% (81/167)||51% (86/167)|
Thoughts on the Match
I’ve had some tough losses here where I should have won, like against Tomas a few years ago and also against Nishikori, and they stay with you. I’m happy to come have through today. I definitely got very lucky at the end, but I think I showed great heart today. I fought and Tomas definitely started to step it up, but it was a great match at the end.
So how did Berdych manage to lose that one? 😆 He was outclassed in the first set but caught fire as the match wore on only to falter at the final hurdle. To be fair, he served an enormous second serve earlier in the tie break so you can see why he went for it match point down but it virtually hit the baseline.
But in spite of the result, I think it was Berdych's best performance of the year so far. He's had an up and down start to the season, but in Miami, he's served big and gone for his shots. He has huge power on both sides so why not try blaze a few winners. It certainly worked last night for him, and he was able to hit some quality shots from the baseline to get within a whisker of the win.
As for Roger, very impressive that he somehow managed to come through. He started in imperious fashion, got reeled in during the second set, played well in the third, faltered at 5-3 and then got lucky in the tiebreak to come through. Just shows if you at least stick around then anything can happen and he was able to find a way to cross the line.
I don't think he's been at his very best this week and has had a few flat moments during his matches, but he is high on confidence and still winning. He has played a lot of tennis over the last two weeks so understandable if he's feeling it now and he hasn't played back to back tournaments since 2015. Still moving pretty well but perhaps not as razor sharp as we saw in Indian Wells which is why he didn't serve as well today.
Predictions vs. Krygios
Next up is Nick Kyrgios who won the battle of the #nextgen by defeating Sascha Zverev in three sets. Impressive win for the Aussie and he's not lost his serve now in 3 matches.
Kyrgios leads the H2H 1-0 after winning in Madrid in 2015, and they should have played in Indian Wells before Kyrgios came down with food poisoning.
Kyrgios is looking more balanced of late, but he's still a bit of an enigma, so it's tough to predict. Great serve, can beat anyone but can also check out of a match instantly if something unsettles him.
Based on that I think the match will be a bit of a coin flip. Both guys had tough three setters, but you figure Kyrgios has to be the fresher of the two when they step on the court. I guess we'll know more based on how Fed starts, does he have that quickness in the legs or is he bit laboured.
If the former I like his chances, Krygios is going to be difficult to break as he just goes for it but if Fed can take care of his service games, then I'm sure a chance will crop up on the return to get in front.
If the latter then it might be another long slog where he has to dig deep and rely on his experience to give himself a shot at winning.
What are your predictions for the Semi Final? Let me know in the comments.