Federer Close To Perfect In Miami QF

Swiss will face Shapovalov in SF

Roger Federer might make a mistake later this week at the Miami Open presented by Itau, but he hardly did on Thursday night against Kevin Anderson.

The three-time Miami champion had everything on full display during his 6-0, 6-4 rout against the sixth seed and looks like the man to beat heading into the final weekend of the ATP Masters 1000 tournament.

Federer brought the cheeky net skills, the crafty slices from side to side and the attacking mindset, and it was all far too much for Anderson, who couldn't replicate his 2018 Wimbledon comeback and fell to 1-6 in his FedEx ATP Head2Head series against the 27-time Masters 1000 champion.

The 37-year-old Federer moved into his seventh Miami semi-final and 65th final four at a Masters 1000 event. Next, instead of an experienced veteran like the 32-year-old Anderson, he'll meet someone who spent his childhood watching the Swiss in 19-year-old Canadian Denis Shapovalov. In the other semi-final, defending champion and seventh seed John Isner, 33, will meet 18-year-old qualifier Felix Auger-Aliassime of Canada.

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"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."

It will be the first FedEx ATP Head2Head meeting between Shapovalov and Federer. The left-hander came back from a set down for the third time this tournament to win a #NextGenATP battle against 21-year-old American Frances Tiafoe 6-7(5), 6-4, 6-2. Both players have competed at the Next Gen ATP Finals in Milan.

Federer remembered practising with Shapovalov a few years ago during the Masters 1000 event in Toronto. 

Similar to today, he was just hitting big. I was, like, 'Wow, it's unbelievable. How old is he? How good is he going to get?' I don't know. But he was very impressive. Same with the serve... It just felt like he belonged there,” Federer said.

Read More: Surging Shapovalov Earns Shot At Federer | Federer Praises Auger-Aliassime, Shapovalov

The quarter-final had an ominous start for Anderson, who served first. The South African looked unnerved and overhit a backhand long to hand Federer the break.

Coming into the match, he had been broken only three times (34/37) against Spain's Jaume Munar, Portugal's No. 1 Joao Sousa and Jordan Thompson of Australia. But Federer would break Anderson that many times in the opening set alone.

Federer landed only 38 per cent of his first serves, but he defended his second serve without problems. Anderson recovered from the 26-minute opening set and the 0-6, 0-2 deficit, breaking Federer to get back on serve at 3-3 in the second.

But the pressure mounted once more at 4-4, and, after a marathon 14-minute game, Federer showed off his craftiness once more. The Swiss cut a slice return to Anderson's forehand wing that he lunged for and hit, but missed wide, and Federer had his fifth and final break.

Did You Know?
Federer is currently third (27) on the all-time Masters 1000 title leaderboard, behind Novak Djokovic (32) and Rafael Nadal (33).

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