Roger Federer came through a three-set thriller with Aussie Nick Kyrgios to book his spot alongside longtime rival Rafael Nadal in the Miami Open final. The 7-6(9), 6-7(9), 7-6(5) victory for the Swiss marked the second time that the pair have played three sets of tiebreakers in a match.
Despite the loss tonight, controversial and over emotional Kyrgios gave an in-form Federer everything he could handle on this night.
Federer rallied from a break down in the opening set, breaking for 5-all on a Kyrgios double-fault then earning a set point with Kyrgios serving at 5-6. Kyrgios saved three break points altogether before yielding on the 20th point when his backhand sailed wide.
The Aussie saved another two break points early in the second set and then saved a pair of match points in the breaker before converting his third set point of the tiebreak to level.
In the deciding set there wasn’t a break point to be found. Kyrgios went up a mini-break in the tiebreaker but Federer battled back. Then both players showed some good serving but eventually Federer prevailed in the important moments.
The Swiss now improves to 18-1 on the season. Two of those victories have come against Rafael Nadal, his opponent in Sunday’s final.
The pair played the first two of their 36 meetings in Miami, with Nadal winning a third-round match in 2004 and Federer defeating Nadal in the final in 2005.