Federer makes semis, Wozniacki reaches Miami Open final
ABS-CBN Sports on Mar 31, 2017 10:07 AM
Roger Federer, of Switzerland, celebrates after defeating Tomas Berdych, of the Czech Republic, 6-2, 3-6, 7-6 (6) at the Miami Open tennis tournament, Thursday, March 30, 2017, in Key Biscayne, Fla. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)
TIM REYNOLDS, AP Sports Writer
KEY BISCAYNE, Fla. (AP) — Roger Federer's run at the Miami Open was one point from ending. Down 6-4 in a third-set tiebreaker to Tomas Berdych, the situation was officially dire.
Yet even in that moment, Federer still felt some hope.
"I had belief I could turn it around, even then," he said.
Somehow, he was right, and his stellar start to 2017 continued. The fourth-seeded Federer fought off those two match points and beat the 10th-seeded Berdych 6-2, 3-6, 7-6 (6) in a quarterfinal matchup — avenging a third-set tiebreak loss to Berdych at Key Biscayne seven years ago in a match that he still thinks he should have won.
"I got incredibly lucky," Federer said. "Could have gone either way. Felt like maybe this one I should have lost."
Federer feels right at home at Key Biscayne, and so does Caroline Wozniacki — with good reason, since she sometimes practices at the facility. The 12th-seeded Wozniacki, a part-time South Florida resident, made the women's final for the first time in 10 tries by topping second-seeded Karolina Pliskova 5-7, 6-1, 6-1.
"This is one of the few tournaments where I've never made a finals," Wozniacki said. "I think my best result here was semifinals five years ago. It's always been a tournament where I wouldn't say I struggle, but I've just not had the results I wanted."
Federer improved to 17-1 this year and will face either No. 12 Nick Kyrgios or No. 16 Alexander Zverev in the semifinals on Friday. Kyrgios and Zverev were playing their quarterfinal later Thursday.
Rafael Nadal and Fabio Fognini are the other men's semifinalists, meaning there's still a chance for Federer-Nadal on Sunday for the men's crown.
"I would love it," Federer said.
Federer is now 4-0 in tiebreakers this year at Key Biscayne, none of the first three as pressure-packed as the one he needed in the quarters. He was serving for the match at 5-3 in the third and got broken, had a match point in the next game and couldn't convert, then was down 6-4 in the breaker before winning the final four points.
Berdych actually won 91 points to Federer's 89. He needed 92 — and after coming up with big shot after big shot in the final two sets, he wound up going out on a double-fault.
"I just lost by one point. That's what happened. Very simple, very straightforward," Berdych said. "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?"
Like Federer, Wozniacki rallied, albeit with far less drama. She won 12 of the last 14 games in her match.
Wozniacki was clearly the fresher player as the match unfolded on a sunny, 80-degree afternoon. She wasted three set points in the opening set, won the first three games in the second set and kept rolling.
"I got a good start to the second set and that kind of got me fired up," Wozniacki said.
This will be the second consecutive time two double-digit seeds make the women's final at Key Biscayne, after No. 13 Victoria Azarenka beat No. 15 Svetlana Kuznetsova a year ago.
No. 11 Venus Williams and No. 10 Johanna Konta were to play for the other spot in the women's final later Thursday night.
"It's extremely special," Wozniacki said. "Having a place here, training here in the offseason, playing kind of on home advantage, it's special to be in my first finals here. I'm extremely excited."