Federer thrilled to beat Kyrgios as he attempts to conquer Nadal

By Sacha Pisani 1 April 2017 214
Federer thrilled to beat Kyrgios as he attempts to conquer Nadal

It was one of the most entertaining matches in 2017 and former world number one Roger Federer was relieved to prevail against Nick Kyrgios and reach the Miami Open final.

Fans watched in awe at Crandon Park as two-time winner Federer overcame Kyrgios 7-6 (11-9) 6-7 (9-11) 7-6 (7-5) in Friday's thrilling contest.

The semi-final ebbed and flowed as 12th seed Kyrgios went toe-to-toe with Federer but the 18-time grand-slam champion kept his composure when it counted after three hours, 11 minutes on court.

"It did feel very good, because you don't very often play three breakers in a match. It's nice to win those and winning breakers is always such a thrill," said Federer.

"It's great winning this way, especially because I remember the loss against him a few years ago, It was rough. It was the birthday of my boys. I wasn't with them and had that match, so it was nice to get this one."

The reward for fourth seed Federer is another showdown with great rival Rafael Nadal on Sunday.

Federer outlasted Nadal in the Australian Open final in January before easing past the Spanish veteran in the last 16 at Indian Wells.

But Federer is braced for another blockbuster encounter against fifth seed Nadal, who is looking to finally claim the ATP 1000 event at the fifth time of asking after defeating Fabio Fognini in the semis.

"I feel like there is a mountain to climb in Rafa. He's hasn't won this event before. He's definitely feeling fresher than I feel right now. But that's not a problem. I'll be ready on Sunday," said Federer.

"It's definitely going to be very special playing Rafa here again. I'm thrilled for him that he came back as well as he did after the comeback and the struggles that he had last year.

"It feels like old times. We're playing each other every week now. We can't get enough of each other. Hopefully it's not our last match."

Meanwhile, Kyrgios - who was booed by the Miami crowd throughout - added: "I feel like my level of tennis has always been high, but mentally I'm competing for every point now. That's making the difference.

"I showed a lot of fight. Obviously I'm an emotional guy. I had some ups and downs, a bit of a roller coaster, but ultimately I think I put in a good performance. I think I've made an effort to try and put in [the work] every day. I've got a great team with me. Every day we're on the practice court trying to have fun."

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Sacha Pisani