Roger Federer was scary good early on against Kevin Anderson in the Miami quarterfinal tonight, rolling out to a 8-0 lead and took it 6-0, 6-4.
After getting overmatched in the first set, Anderson came back in the second to level and played Federer tough down the stretch, but the South Floridian couldn’t conjure that same comeback he authored at Wimbledon last year.
Federer improved to 6-1 against Anderson and he’s now 15-2 on the season, and into his second straight Masters semifinal this month.
Federer will now face the swashbuckling Denis Shapovalov. The 19-year-old reached his first Miami Masters semifinal, third overall at the Masters, after coming from a set down to beat American Frances Tiafoe 6-7(5), 6-4, 6-2.
Shapovalov had chances in the first set and then in the breaker but couldn’t convert. But he was able to early in the second and again in the third against his friend Frances.
“It’s tough in the sense that I wish the best for him, and I love seeing him go deep in tournaments and doing as good as possible,” Shapovalov said of Tiafoe. “But when you’re on the other side, like, for example today when you win, obviously you feel great. But part of me does also feel kind of bad, just in the sense that he couldn’t go on in the tournament.
“I know he deserves it as much as I do. He works so hard. He’s such a great person. But in that sense, it’s definitely tough. But I think once we get on the court, once we start playing, it’s just tennis. We just play our sport. We both try to win.”
The win also moves Shapovalov into Top 20 for a first time. And with he and 18-year-old countryman Felix Auger-Aliassime, it’s the first time two teens are in a Masters semifinal since 2007 Miami when Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray made it.
Federer and Shapovalov have never met, and both are keen on the battle.
“It’s definitely a matchup I have been looking forward to, I think, my whole life,” Shapovalov said. “It’s going to be a dream come true to play him in such a big event over here, and the stakes are so high, semi-final match of a Masters 1000 against your idol. It’s just a dream come true.”
Federer rarely faces teens, but he says he likes the challenge.
“It doesn’t feel that different to when I played Rafa when he was super young, or anybody. Any teenager you play, once I think you’re 23, feels different to playing anybody else, because they come out there, and they might not know all the plays down to the T yet, but they don’t have to, because they just free-swing sometimes, and that makes it particularly dangerous,” Federer said.
“I have always enjoyed playing against teenagers. I think it’s very exciting because of that. It’s an exciting draw, for John and for myself here, playing these young guys. They are not just young, but they are very good, as well. They are nice guys. It should be hopefully good semi-finals.”
The 18-year age difference between the two is the widest ever in a Masters semifinal.
While Federer and Shapovalov will meet in the evening at 7pm, another old-young clash takes place in the afternoon at 1pm with defending champion John Isner facing Auger-Aliassime, which is also a first-time meeting.
“Obviously I think maybe I’ll have to maybe adjust my return position,” FAA said of facing Isner. “Maybe see the stats where he’s serving best, look at the match how he played today in these tiebreaks, to see where he likes serving on important points.
“From there, you know, just focus on myself, what I have to do first, and then figure out a way to break him.”
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