Roger Federer and Nick Kyrgios will try again to match-up in a Masters event just like they were supposed to do a couple of weeks ago. At Indian Wells, the 21-year-old Kyrgios had to withdraw just before facing Federer due to a virus. And they almost didn’t make the rematch.
Federer started the match as he has done all year, and early on against Tomas Berdych, the Swiss star was in charge, breaking Berdych right in the very first game.
By the time Berdych settled in, Federer had already secured the opening set. But Berdych rebounded in the second and made a match of it, finally breaking Federer in the eighth game.
Federer, who had won his last six encounters against Berdych, saw his set streak of 15 come to an end against the big Czech.
Federer found the right rhythm on his serve, cruising to start the third, then seized a break to go up 4-2, then 5-2. But when serving for the match at 5-3, Federer blinked, and played one of the most miserable service games of his career, and got broken to love.
Berdych then faced a match point in his next service game, but held and eventually forced the match to go to a deciding breaker, just like they did in their only other Miami meeting won by Berdych in 2010.
In a topsy-turvy breaker, it was Berdych coming ahead with two match points at 6-4, but almost predictably, he wouldn’t win another point as Federer reeled off four straight and a Berdych double fault put the Swiss back into the Miami semifinals 6-2, 3-6, 7-6(6).
“I felt really good after the first set. I think then I maybe let Tomas back into the match as well just a bit. Also, he started to play bigger and better. I’m happy I fought hard and somehow got it done today. But the crowds were great,” Federer said.
Berdych falls to 6-18 against Federer and the former finalist hasn’t beaten a Top 5 player in over two years since he stunned Rafael Nadal at the Australian Open in 2015.
In the evening, Nick Kyrgios carried his belligerent serve to what turned into a tough 3-set win over budding rival Alexander Zvererv 6-4, 6-7(9), 6-3.
Kyrgios let slip three match points during a terrific second set breaker. And in the third, Zverev continued his fight until he got rattled by a late challenge win by Kyrgios in the first point of the sixth game. Zverev went on to get broken and Kyrgios closed out the match on his sixth match point.
“We’re great friends as well, so I’m always lucky to go out and play against a player like him. It could have gone either way,” Kyrgios said.
Kyrgios, who is into his second straight Miami semifinal, will meet Federer who he defeated the only time these two met in Madrid in 2015 after saving a match point. So Federer has his sights set on revenge. He is now 17-1 on the season and he’s won his last nine matches.
“I love playing against Roger, He’s my favourite tennis player, so I’m going to enjoy that moment. We don’t really know how long he’s going to be around for, so I’m going to enjoy that moment.” Kyrgios said.