Roger Federer beats Nick Kyrgios in thriller to set up final against Rafa Nadal
Roger Federer survived a thrilling semi-final against Nick Kyrgios at the Miami Open to set up the final the fans wanted against Rafa Nadal.
However Federer was made to work extremely hard for his place in the final, with all three sets going to tiebreaks before the Swiss veteran emerged with a 7-6(9) 6-7(9) 7-6(5) win.
Earlier, Nadal downed Italy's Fabio Fognini 6-1 7-5 in the other semi-final.
This was only the second time that Federer had faced Kyrgios, with the Australian running out a narrow winner in that meeting in Madrid back in 2015. But putting the record straight against the young pretender made the Miami victory even more sweet for a clearly delighted Federer.
"It's great winning this way, especially of course I remember the loss against him few years ago," Federer said.
"I know I can't always show my fighting skills because everything else sort of takes over."
Nick Kyrgios of Australia stretches for a shot against Roger Federer of Switzerland in the semi finals at Crandon Park Tennis Center on March 31, 2017 in Key BiscayneAFP
The win continues a remarkable resurgence for the 35-year-old, who has already won the Australian Open and the BNP Paribas Open this season.
Yet for Kyrgios there were huge regrets, with the Australian particularly riled by a fan shouting out during the decisive third-set tiebreak.
Yet the enigmatic youngster was surprisingly diplomatic after the match, saying:
" Obviously, I'm an emotional guy. I had some ups and up and downs, bit of a roller coaster. Ultimately, I think I put in a good performance. I thought the crowd would've enjoyed watching it, people at home would've enjoyed watching it. But, I wouldn't be surprised if they found something bad to say about me."
Sunday’s dream final against Nadal will be a repeat of the Australian Open final, with the Spaniard looking to halt a run of three straight losses against his old rival.
"Winning here would be something great, and an important title I haven't won," Nadal said, referring to four previous defeats in Miami finals. "I served well (today). That gives you calm when you have opportunities on the return."