(March 30, 2017) Roger Federer saved two match points to reach the Miami Open semifinals by beating Tomas Berdych 6-2, 3-6, 7-6(6). Federer failed to serve out the match at 5-3 in the third set and rallied from 6-4 down in the tiebreak for the win.
“I felt really good after the first set,” said the Swiss. “I think then I maybe let Tomas back into the match as well just a bit. Also, he started to play bigger and better.
“Still I thought I played a pretty good third set to get the lead, and then I just played a shocker of a game to get broken. I didn’t see — somehow I lost a ball on the first point, then maybe double fault, and then at Love-30 things are just complicated. Plus it was against the wind, so it was a very disappointing game for me.
“I tried to stay positive. I got a match point after that on the return where he went big on the second serve. Credit to him for just going for it. You know, it was nice to see that you can do that.
“Then the breaker obviously I got incredibly lucky. Could have gone either way. Felt like maybe this one I should have lost and maybe I should have won the one against him here in the night session years ago.
“But that’s how it goes. I’m happy I fought hard and somehow got it done today.”
“I just lost by one point. That’s what happened. Very simple, very straightforward,” Berdych said to media “He was the one serving out the match, didn’t make it. I had a match point, didn’t make it. I had two, didn’t make it. So what else to say?”
Federer will play Nick Kyrgios, the winner of a match between two rising starts on the ATP World Tour – the No. 12 seed Nick Kyrgios defeated No. 16 Alexander Zverev 6-4, 6-7(9), 6-3.
“They like the big stage,” Federer noted. “Both have a big serve. Both real nice backhand, and the belief, so that makes them just very tough to play, you know in any given match.
“The question with those guys coming up is can they bring to even single day? How is the mind and the body coping through all the sort of newer stress for them that they’re experiencing?
“Some weeks you feel great; some weeks you just don’t feel so good. That’s normal when you’re younger still trying to figure everything out, what’s their best surface, how do they need to play against certain player types.
“I both like their game and I think they’re going to be very, very good players moving forward. They already are, but I’m talking big picture.”
The world No. 6 is 17-1 on the year.
The other men’s semifinal is already set with Rafael Nadal taking on Fabio Fognini.
Asked about a chance for a Nadal- Federer final, Federer said: “I mean, it would be very cool. Look, they’ve been talking about it since the beginning of the tournament, which is nice. I’m happy we both made it this far. I definitely got super lucky today to be in the position that I’m in today, the semis.
“Yeah, I mean, look, I would love it. It would be like a throwback to 2005 I think the finals we played; 2004 we played the first time ever against each other here in Miami. So that would be cool, to have that going. Plus Rafa going for his first Miami Open. I think that would be cool, too.
“Yet I do believe the semis tomorrow is going to be quit difficult. Unfortunately I have to go back to that. Both are great players. Yeah, I think it’s going to be a tough match for both of them tonight, but especially for me tomorrow against either one.”
Federer versus Kyrgios will be a rematch of the quarterfinals on Indian Wells two weeks ago – Kyrgios had to withdraw due to illness. Federer went on to win the title.
This is the Aussie’s second straight year in the Miami semifinals.
Kyrgios talked about playing Federer: “Obviously he’s the greatest player of all-time, but the way that he takes time away from players, that’s his strength. He likes to play his pace of tennis. He likes to take away time and play aggressive.
“He obviously like to play really aggressive on return. Likes to get through his service games very quick. Serve and volley. I know what’s going to be coming. I’ve played him before.
“In saying that, he’s playing incredible at the moment. He’s had a great year. Obviously coming back from injury last year and winning the Australian Open, winning Indian Wells, he obviously looks very healthy and is moving very, very good.
“I’m not going to think about it too much at the moment. I got a whole day ahead of me where I can sort of just relax. I’m going to not do anything big. I’m going to serve big and play big. That’s my gamestyle that I’ve had success with, so that’s what I’m going to bring.”
Kyrgios beat Federer at the 2015 Madrid Open for their only head-to-head matchup.
Caroline Wozniacki and Johanna Konta moved into the women’s final. Konta defeated former champion Venus Williams 6-4, 7-5, while Wozniacki rallied past Karolina Pliskova 5-7, 6-1, 6-1.
“This is one of the few tournaments where I’ve never made a finals,” noted Wozniacki. “I think my best result was semifinals like five years ago. You know, it’s always been a tournament where I wouldn’t say I’ve struggled, but just not had the results that I’ve wanted to.
“You know, I’m really pleased to make it this far. There is one more match to go, and I’m going to do my best to win that one. But it’s going to be against tough opponents regardless of who I’m playing.”
“Against Caroline, I’m definitely going to be looking forward to playing a lot of balls and a lot of tough points,” Konta said. “She’s one of the best athletes in the game. She ran a marathon for goodness sake. I’m sure it’ll be a match where I’ll be running for a lot of balls. Hopefully we’ll give a great match for the final.”
“I think that’s the thing with Caroline: she never goes away. She’s there until the very, very last ball.
“I know that will be my challenge on Saturday. Yeah, looking forward to it.”