Roger Federer beat Australia's Nick Kyrgios 7-6 (11/9), 6-7 (9/11), 7-6 (7/5) in a thriller on Friday to set up a mouth-watering Miami Open final against Rafael Nadal.
The Swiss legend continued his stunning 2017 form by seeing off the Australian in a gripping clash 7-6 (11-9) 6-7 (9-11) 7-6 (7-5).
"It did feel very good, because you don't very often play three breakers in a match". For the Australian upstart had missed out on a meeting with Federer at Indian Wells after a last-minute withdrawal and in Miami, he was a man on a mission.
Federer had said even before the match that he was very impressed with Kyrgios' game, and that respect grew with every victor off the Aussie's racket Friday night.
"I guess you get better over time handling pressure", Federer said.
Roger Federer described himself as "incredibly lucky" to have beaten Tomas Berdych in the Miami Open quarter-finals, but credited his 6-2, 3-6, 7-6 (8/6) victory to thinking young.
Federer and Kyrgios have played six consecutive tie-breaks in their two FedEx ATP Head-to-Head meetings, with the rivalry now tied at 1-1.
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"It's great winning this way, especially of course I remember the loss against him few years ago", Federer told reporters. It was right after Federer lost the second-set tiebreaker.
"I had some ups and downs, bit of a rollercoaster", said Kyrgios.
The second was much dominated by service from both the players with neither player unable to break serve and ensured another tie-breaker in the match.
And the Aussie then showcased his talent, conjuring up an unbelievable cross-court return to go 10-9 up, and following it with a thundering ace to force a third set.
However, through the Miami draw, Nadal was looking increasingly assured at a tournament where he had reached four previous finals.
In a shocking display of heckling the crowd roared and booed - including even Kyrgios' opponent Roger Federer's wife who was watching in the stands in Miami. "I tried to stay positive and it was worthwhile to stay ... the atmosphere only got more epic". Federer-Kyrgios is a rematch - sort of - from this year's quarterfinals at Indian Wells, a match where Kyrgios withdrew beforehand with an illness.
Nadal faced the unseeded Fabio Fognini, a former No13 who was just beginning to regain some of that earlier form. Federer had match-point at 8-7 but found the net with his return. Ultimately, I think I put in a good performance. Federer was unable to capitalise on a match-point at 6-5, with Kyrgios refusing to give up and managed to get a set point of his own at 6-7 and while he couldn't take that chance, he finally sent an ace down at 10-9 to equal the match.
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