Miami: Roger Federer geared up for a Miami Open tennis tournament final shootout with John Isner after blowing away young-gun Denis Shapovalov in straight sets, here Friday. The summit clash takes place Saturday.
Federer produced a 6-2, 6-4 masterclass at Hard Rock Stadium to leave up-and-coming star Shapovalov, who grew up idolising the Swiss, chasing shadows during a difficult first set.
The Swiss was superb in dismantling the 19 year-old’s game, but knows with huge serving Isner lying in wait in what will be the former World No.1’s 50th ATP Masters final, the key will be to defuse the reigning Miami Open champion’s monster service game.
Isner used his serves to great effect in his 7-6 (7/3), 7-6 (7/4) win over Shapovalov’s friend and compatriot Felix Auger-Aliassime earlier in the day, smashing down 21 aces. He’ll be looking for more of the same against 20 time Grand Slam champion Federer.
“Playing a big server like John is like being in a penalty shootout in soccer, but I enjoy it,” said World No.4 Federer who coped brilliantly with Kevin Anderson’s dangerous serve in the quarterfinals, winning the first set to love.
“Sometimes you go with momentum, you go with feel. Sometimes you guess maybe a little bit and sometimes you see it. It’s a combination of all sorts of things when you player with big serves. You just hope that the stars align, that you pick the right side,” added the Swiss.
Federer had no such challenge from Shapovalov, playing his fifth ATP Tour semifinal in the year.
The Canadian displayed understandable nerves early on, a struggle with his first serve proving as much in a 10 minute opening game which he eventually won. Yet it didn’t settle him down and when another horribly loose backhand flew long, Federer pocketed a vital early break and stayed in the driver’s seat.
Shapovalov, who will jump to a career best 20th in the world thanks to this impressive run, enjoyed some much better moments in the second set and looked more relaxed, although the match was never in his hands. He hit just eight winners in response to Federer’s 30 but will learn from this.