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Federer outlasts Kyrgios to set up Nadal final in Miami
March 31, 2017 / 7:44 PM / 8 months ago

Federer outlasts Kyrgios to set up Nadal final in Miami

REUTERS - Roger Federer needed more than three hours to outlast Nick Kyrgios 7-6(9) 6-7(9) 7-6(5) in a pulsating Miami Open semi-final on Friday to set up another mouthwatering final clash with Rafa Nadal.

Mar 31, 2017; Miami, FL, USA; Roger Federer of Switzerland celebrates after winning match point against Nick Kyrgios of Australia (not pictured) during a men's singles semi-final in the 2017 Miami Open at Brandon Park Tennis Center. Federer won 7-6(9), 6-7(9), 7-6(5). Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

The Swiss, who has won two of his last three tournaments including the Australian Open, had to dig deep to get through a second straight test after fending off a match point in his quarter-final victory over Tomas Berdych.

The 35-year-old’s victory sets up a re-match of January’s Melbourne Park title-decider against Spaniard Nadal, who earlier rolled over unseeded Italian Fabio Fognini 6-1 7-5.

Kyrgios, who has twice beaten Novak Djokovic over the last month, left his racket a twisted heap on the court after coming up short in a battle against the former world number one and a partisan crowd.

In their only previous match in Madrid in 2015, the Australian came out on top in a similar three-set thriller that went to three tiebreaks with the last decided 14-12.

“It’s great winning this way, especially of course I remember the loss against him few years ago,” Federer told reporters.

“I know I can’t always show my fighting skills because everything else sort of takes over.”

The temperamental Kyrgios came apart in the late stages of the last tiebreak after a fan yelled out when he was leading 5-4 and he miscued a forehand.

Mar 31, 2017; Miami, FL, USA; Roger Federer of Switzerland hits a forehand against Nick Kyrgios of Australia (not pictured) during a men's singles semi-final in the 2017 Miami Open at Brandon Park Tennis Center. Federer won 7-6(9), 6-7(9), 7-6(5). Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

The 21-year-old turned to the fan and unleashed a volley of obscenities before serving up a double fault that gave Federer the window he needed to clinch the battle. “Obviously, I‘m an emotional guy. I had some ups and up and downs, bit of a roller coaster,” Kyrgios said.

“Ultimately, I think I put in a good performance. I thought the crowd would’ve enjoyed watching it, people at home would’ve enjoyed watching it. But, I wouldn’t be surprised if they found something bad to say about me.”

Nadal, who lost all four of his previous Miami Open finals, will be out to snap a run of three straight defeats against Federer, including in the Melbourne final and at Indian Wells.

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“Winning here would be something great, and an important title I haven’t won,” Nadal told reporters. “I served well (today). That gives you calm when you have opportunities on the return.”

The fifth-seeded Spaniard did not face a break point against Fognini and put his opponent’s serve under pressure throughout the 90-minute match.

The 30-year-old raced through the first set in 26 minutes, losing only four points on serve while Fognini made 14 unforced errors.

“I was missing a lot of balls,” Fognini said. “I give him a present of the first set. I was playing really bad.”

The Italian came to life in the second set, especially in a stretch where he fended off five break points during his first two service games.

At 5-5, however, just when it looked as if Fognini might force a decisive third set, he double faulted and Nadal grabbed the break before sealing the match four points later.

Reporting by Frank Pingue and Jahmal Corner; Editing by Ken Ferris/Nick Mulvenney

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