Roger Federer gunning for a back-to back Masters trophies, has qualified for the semi-final of the Miami Open, edging Tomas Berdych 6-2 3-6 7-6(8-6).
The Swiss maestro survived two match points before beating the Czech in the third-set tiebreak, digging deep from his reservoir of skill, poise and experience to move to the semi-final stage.
Berdych served for the match at 6-4 in the tiebreak, but could not convert, with Federer reeling off four points in a row, winning when Berdych double-faulted.
Earlier, the Swiss looked set for another emphatic victory after taking the first set. But Berdych fought back to clinch the second set at 6-3.
Little separated both players in the early stages of the third set, but a pair of forehand errors from Berdych gifted Federer a break to lead 4-2. 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.
Federer trailed 4/6 in the third-set tie-break, but Berdych missed his opportunities with a backhand unforced error and a forehand into the net. A double fault from Berdych at 6/7 wrapped up the match after one hour and 57 minutes. Federer improves his FedEx ATP Head2Head against Berdych to 18-6 and has won their past seven matches.
Australian Open champion Federer, who also won at Indian Wells two weeks ago, has lost only once this year, to Russian Evgeny Donskoy in a third-set tiebreak in Dubai.
“I’ve had some tough losses here where I should have won, like against Tomas a few years ago and also against Nishikori, and they stay with you. I’m happy to come have through today,” said Federer to ESPN after the match.
“I definitely got very lucky at the end, but I think I showed great heart today. I fought and Tomas definitely started to step it up, but it was a great match at the end.”
His next opponent will be either Alexander Zverev or the Australian Nick Kyrgios. They will play from midnight, Nigerian time.
Rafael Nadal has already qualified for the semi final. He will play Italian Fabio Fognini Friday evening.
Federer has not tasted success in Miami since 2006, when he completed the Indian Wells-Miami title double for the second consecutive year.
*With reports by atpworldtour.com