Published: Sun, April 02, 2017
Sport | By Noel Norman

Federer advances to Miami semi-final

Kyrgios, who defeated Alexander Zverev in the quarter-finals, now leads the head-to-head with a win over Federer in the 2015 Madrid Open.

The fourth-seeded Federer fought off two match points before beating No.10 seed Tomas Berdych 6-2 3-6 7-6 (8-6) in their quarter-final.

Berdych led 6-4 in the tie-breaker but Federer's class shone through as he won the next four points, including a blistering ace and a double-fault from the Czech to claim the day.

Australian Open champion Federer, who also won at Indian Wells two weeks ago, is playing some of the best tennis of his storied career, neither his age nor a knee injury that kept him out for the second half of previous year slowing him down.

"I'm happy today to come through somehow", Federer said in his post-match interview.

"I definitely got very lucky at the end, but I think I showed great heart".

"Tomas really stepped it up and it was a great match at the end, but one guy had to win".

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Kyrgios heads into the match as favourite to reach the semi-final after coming up some consistent performances this season, which includes a comfortable straight set win over Alexander earlier this month in California.

After several holds of serve, Federer took firm control of the set while leading 4-2 with Berdych on serve. There, he found two match points, one on serve.

Kyrgios looked rattled as Zverev oozed confidence in the final set but the latter was eventually broken in the sixth game.

But Berdych regrouped impressively in the second set and made the most of a loose Federer service game to go 5-3 ahead - the first time in 15 successive sets between the pair that he had taken one from the Swiss player.

It marked Federer's second hard match in a row, as he needed two tiebreaks and almost two hours to beat Roberto Bautista Agut in the fourth round, and followed that up with a near-two-hour effort against Berdych as well.

It was an emotional decider and tempers threatened to boil over when Zverev reacted angrily to a late challenge from Kyrgios, who won the point. The fifth seed was shockingly broken at love attempting to serve out the match at 5-3 and couldn't convert on a match point at 5-4 after Berdych erased it with a gutsy 120mph second serve down the T to Federer's forehand.

"Don't mess up, hit a few aces, stay aggressive on the return...those silly things you tell yourself that never work", joked Federer on what he was telling himself during the tie-break.

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