Editor's Note: ATPTour.com is resurfacing articles to bring fans closer to their favourite players. This story was originally published on 30 March 2017.
Roger Federer held off a streaky Tomas Berdych on Thursday at the Miami Open presented by Itau, saving two match points to reach the semi-finals 6-2, 3-6, 7-6(6).
“I’ve had some tough losses here where I should have won, like against Tomas a few years ago and also against Nishikori, and they stay with you. I’m happy to come have through today,” Federer told ESPN after the match. “I definitely got very lucky at the end, but I think I showed great heart today. I fought and Tomas definitely started to step it up, but it was a great match at the end.”
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Federer hadn't saved a match point en route to victory since erasing three in coming back from two sets down to defeat Marin Cilic in the 2016 Wimbledon quarter-finals. The Swiss maestro moves to 17-1 in 2017, his best start to a season since 2006, and has now won seven straight tie-breaks. Federer is through to his seventh semi-final in Miami and first since 2011.
The fifth seed will play 12th seed Nick Kyrgios for a place in Sunday's final. Kyrgios leads the FedEx ATPHead2Head with Federer 1-0, prevailing on the clay courts of Madrid in 2015 in a third-set tie-break.
"They like the big stage and the belief they have makes them tough to play in any given match," said Federer of Kyrgios and other rising stars on the ATP World Tour. “The question with those guys coming up is what can they bring every single day? How is the mind and the body coping through the newer stress for them that they're experiencing? Some weeks you feel great, some weeks you don't feel so good. That's normal when you're younger and still trying to figure everything out, what their best surface is, how they need to play against certain player types.”
Coming into the quarter-finals, Berdych had dropped serve just once in the tournament. But, putting just one of six first serves into play, the Czech was broken in the opening game of the match. In contrast, Federer fought off a break point in the second game. He held serve throughout and broke Berdych again at 4-2 to put the set beyond doubt.
Berdych regrouped in the second set and took advant