Federer Routs Shapovalov To Reach Miami Final
Canadian Denis Shapovalov had been looking forward to playing Roger Federer practically his entire life. Before the match, he called it "a dream come true". The 19-year-old, however, didn't envision their semi-final going like it did on Friday night at the Miami Open presented by Itau.
The Canadian was nervous to start, and that was more than Federer needed as the three-time champion delivered another near-perfect performance at Hard Rock Stadium.
The Swiss glided around court and hit winners all match, cruising to his fifth Miami final – his 50th at the ATP Masters 1000 level – 6-2, 6-4 and will face American John Isner for a chance at his 28th Masters 1000 crown. The defending champion Isner beat 18-year-old Canadian Felix Auger-Aliassime 7-6(3), 7-6(4) earlier Friday.
“I enjoyed it. I think I played very well. I had to. Because I think when you let Denis play, he's got some serious power, and he gets rhythm going. He can really put you in uncomfortable situations,” Federer said. “So I think I did well, and I'm very happy how I played.”
Federer leads his FedEx ATP Head2Head series with Isner 5-2, including a straight-sets win during the 2012 BNP Paribas Open final. Isner, however has yet to drop a set this fortnight and is 9-0 in tie-breaks.
Shapovalov was on the board early, despite the nerves that can come with playing your idol for the first time. But the good feelings didn't last, as Federer broke in the third game when Shapovalov shanked a backhand.
The teenager finished the opener with 20 unforced errors. Federer, meanwhile, picked up where he finished with Kevin Anderson on Thursday night, smacking crosscourt forehand winners and pressuring Shapovalov to pass. The Swiss hit only four unforced errors in the opener.
Shapovalov came back from a set down three times to reach the semi-finals, including during his quarter-final against #NextGenATP American Frances Tiafoe. And the Canadian held to start the second. But Federer broke in the third game again and served his way into the final.
“It's surreal, being on the court against him," Shapovalov said. "Obviously I wasn't trying to focus on the fact that it's Roger on the other side. I was just trying to play as good as I can, and he did a good job today. He played an excellent match. I wasn't able to kind of stay at his level. I'm just going to try to learn from this and move forward.”
The 37-year-old Federer has now reached the most Masters 1000 finals in history with 50 (27-22). Spain's Rafael Nadal has made 49 finals at the prestigious level (33-16).
Federer will go for title No. 101 against Isner, after having won his 100th title earlier this month at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships (d. Tsitsipas).