Miami SF preview and prediction: Federer vs. Kyrgios

Roger Federer and Nick Kyrgios will be going head-t0-head for the second time in their careers when they collide in the semifinals of the Miami Open on Friday night.

Kyrgios won their only previous encounter 6-7(2), 7-6(5), 7-6(12) on the clay courts of Madrid in 2015, where he saved two match points before converting his sixth opportunity in the final-set tiebreaker. They were supposed to face each other again at the Indian Wells Masters earlier this month, but the 21-year-old withdrew prior to a quarterfinal clash due to illness.

Nothing has slowed Kyrgios down in Miami, where has advanced to the final four with victories over Damir Dzumhur (6-4, 6-3), Ivo Karlovic (in a third-set tiebreaker), David Goffin (7-6(5), 6-3), and Alexander Zverev (6-4, 6-7(9), 6-3). The world No. 16 is now 14-3 this season–including 7-0 in his last seven matches–and is through to his third semifinal.

Of course, no one has been better than Federer in 2017. The 35-year-old Swiss boasts a 17-1 record with titles at the Australian Open and in Indian Wells, and he is back up to sixth in the rankings and could find himself at No. 4 following this fortnight. Federer has not been entirely dominant in Miami, but battled into the semis by defeating Frances Tiafoe, Juan Martin Del Potro, Roberto Bautista Agut, and Tomas Berdych. After needing a pair of tiebreakers to get past Bautista Agut in the fourth round, the 18-time major champion fought off two match points to beat Berdych 6-2, 3-6, 7-6(6) on Thursday night.

“Obviously he’s the greatest player of all time,” Kyrgios said of his upcoming opponent. “But the way that he takes time away from players–that’s his strength. He likes to play his pace of tennis. He likes to take away time and play aggressive. He obviously like to play really aggressive on return (and) likes to get through his service games very quick…. I know what’s going to be coming.”

“They like the big stage,” Federer responded when asked about Kyrgios and Zverev before Thursday’s second quarterfinal had taken place. “Both have a big serve. Both (have a) real nice backhand, and the belief–so that makes them just very tough to play in any given match.”

Kyrgios certainly has the belief even against the best players in the world. In addition to his 1-0 mark against Federer, the mercurial Aussie is 2-0 at Novak Djokovic’s expense and an even 1-1 against Rafael Nadal.

Moreover, Kyrgios thrives on the big stage–and the big stage is exactly what he has been given in Miami. He has already played three night matches; one on the Grandstand (vs. Dzumhur) before twice enjoying night-session treatment in the stadium (vs. Goffin and vs. Zverev). Federer, who displayed signs of mortality against Bautista Agut and Berdych), has played day matches throughout the entire tournament up to this point. The No. 4 seed’s relative struggles in his last two outings and the fact that he has not yet played in these exact conditions have to be considered factors heading into Friday.

Nick at night equals upset alert.

Pick: Kyrgios in 3

37 Comments on Miami SF preview and prediction: Federer vs. Kyrgios

  1. This was the worst overall crowd I’ve seen in my lifetime, though. They don’t give a shit about anything. You can just smell the booze through the t.v….

    • USO fedfawn crowd was every bit as bad against Nole in 2015.

      Nole channeled it for a while but the constant lack of appreciation from the fedfawn crowd has been a factor in his eventual burnout.

  2. Federer at almost 36 faster, more flexible, better reaction time and stamina than ever before.

    How is he doing this.

    #Rhetorical.

  3. Miami has lot of spanish speaking people

    Also Rafa is experienced enough to not let crowds get to him

    Rafa needs to come to play.

  4. I am also a little bit disappointed to see Roger celebrated after the match without respect of nick’s misery…by his fans doing of all reason..

    • It was a super-tense, extremely close match, and he won… He gave Nick a nice pat on the chest and said something to him as he was walking out. It’s like he did cartwheels around the court and didn’t say a word to Nick. Shitty one-sided crowds is a part of almost every other sport. I don’t know why it has to be such a controversial thing in tennis.

      • Because it’s only for one guy all the fucking time.

        Cheering opponent errors and calling out during serve and returns.

        Disrespects the rest of the tour and the sport.

  5. RT @TheBorisBecker: We should embrace @NickKyrgios for bringing #energy #quality#youthfulness #spirit into #tennis …#miamiopen2017

    Except they disrespect the game instead with fedfawn blind bias.

    Not tennis fans.

  6. RT @BenRothenberg: One of the more hostile crowds I can remember in tennis recently, and turned against Nick Kyrgios. He’s riding the highs and lows. ?

    Pathetic.

  7. Just finished watching the match; full day of playing sport, and no time to watch. A few comments.
    1. The match of the tournament, and one of the best 3-set matches I have seen in a long time. Hard to recall a match where there was less between the two players, both playing at a very high level. I actually thought it got better as the match went on. I thought Roger’s ROS got better (and was the key, if there was one), but Nick’s got better as well. I love his aggression and his attitude. I also loved that he smashed his racquet on his way to shake hands. Showed how much he wanted it.
    2. Yes, the crowd sucked, but that’s mostly about Nick. Every crowd is pro-Fed, but Kyrgios is tennis’ bad-boy, and the comment about Wawrinka’s GF especially set fans (and players) against him. Not too often that you have other guys on the tour talking about how a player needs someone to smash his mouth in (Ryan Harrison I think). However, I predict that once Kyrgios wins a slam (and it will be soon at this rate), fans will get behind him in a big way. He’s too good, too exciting, and plays in a way that’s too hard not to like. Incidentally, I think Rafa will have nearly half the crowd on Sunday. They love him in Miami.
    3. Props to those who picked another Roger-Rafa final. I missed half of it (Nadal), and I wasn’t totally sold on Roger (I had either him or Nick in the final). Well done.

    • Nah more selective bias.

      The fedfawn crowd were very disrespectful to Tomas in much the same way in the quarters when he was threatening to beat their false god.

  8. RT Ben Rothenberg: ‏ “Just watched it back and it does look like Mirka might’ve been one of the spectators whistling jeeringly at Kyrgios’ mid-game racket change?”

    https://twitter.com/BenRothenberg/status/847978358906519552/photo/1

    RT Daniel‏ @danielNolefan: “This is outrageous, Stan was right about her, disgusting behaviour.”

    RT Andrei Costin Ionesc‏ @AndreiCostin: “She certainly is not famous for her sportsmanship.”

  9. RT @carole_bouchard: Also one can’t wake up in 2017 about the RF/crowd situation when we had the 2015 US Open final mass hysteria. Djokovic still won that one.

    ? tell it to the fedfawns.

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