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Federer: "It's Definitely A Moment You Appreciate"

  • Posted: Mar 31, 2019

Federer: “It’s Definitely A Moment You Appreciate”

Roger Federer reflects on the fortnight that was in Miami and looks ahead to his return to clay

The 2019 Miami Open presented by Itau was all about new beginnings, but in the end, some things never change.

On Sunday, Roger Federer became the first champion at the new Hard Rock Stadium, completing an impressive run to the title with a 6-1, 6-4 defeat of John Isner. After conceding his opening set of the tournament to Radu Albot, he was nearly flawless from there, blitzing the field for his fourth tournament title.

One year after succumbing to Thanasi Kokkinakis in an opening-round stunner, Federer admits that he wasn’t entirely sure of his return to the ATP Masters 1000 event. Safe to say he’s happy with the decision to come back.

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“It’s easy to say that last year didn’t work out, so I won’t come back this year,” said Federer. “And as I’m playing clay, maybe add rather another clay-court event. But I felt like let’s extend the hard court season. Let’s see the new venue. To be honest, I think that was something also I was excited to see… So I’m happy with the team we took the right decision.

“Of course you feel fortunate when you come all the way to the end of the event and you can sit here with the trophy. It’s definitely a moment you appreciate a lot, because you know it could have turned out very different.

“And also the secret was I was more positive this year after losing in Indian Wells over last year. Because last year I was, I don’t want to say frustrated, but I think I was down on myself. I think it cost me a little bit on confidence because I was so down. So maybe this year I didn’t feel that way. Let’s go to Miami and have a good tournament. And I did.”

Federer notched his 101st tour-level crown, 28th at the ATP Masters 1000 level and fourth in Miami. Previously the champion at the old site on Key Biscayne in 2005, 2006 and 2017, the Swiss has fond memories of his time in South Florida.

In his post-match speech, an elated Federer reflected on his experiences competing in the area. From his junior days competing at Flamingo Park and The Biltmore to his Miami Open debut in 1999, the region has a special place in the 37-year-old’s heart.

“The other three [Miami titles] were very special in many ways,” Federer added. “I felt like it reflected who I have become until that moment. These Masters 1000s are hard to win. They are really a test for me, especially later in my career. So I know these don’t come around very often, so when they do, it’s a bit of a surprise for me. That’s why this one feels really cool in many ways.

“Being able to fight back [vs. Nadal in the 2005 final] and find a way to win, I ended up playing unbelievable tennis. I really feel like it was a big moment for me in my life and in my career there. The final against Ivan [Ljubicic] was just during the time when I was dominating so much and I was thinking how many times could I beat Ivan in a row. All these things were happening. It was just a matter of extending whatever you can and for as long as you can.

“And then of course the win here two years ago, maybe as much as it didn’t come as a surprise for people, for me it still did, because I felt like the tank was empty. I had a tough week here against Berdych and Kyrgios, as well. And I also didn’t expect this one, to be honest. I lost in a very close final in Indian Wells and it was a new venue. I didn’t know what to expect.”

Federer will next compete at the Mutua Madrid Open, making his return to clay for the first time in three years. His last match on the surface came at the 2016 Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome. He did not compete on the surface in 2017-18 to give his body a break ahead of the grass season. And while the Swiss says he is ready to make his clay comeback, he admits his confidence is low in making the transition.

“I’m not very confident going into this clay court season, I can tell you that. I didn’t even remember how to slide anymore. I’m taking baby steps at this point. I didn’t play one point – not one shot – on clay last year. Two years ago I played two days. Three years ago I played not feeling great in Monte-Carlo and Rome and all that. It’s been so little that I really don’t know what to expect.

“What this win does for me is it just takes even more pressure off from the clay-court season. That’s what I’m looking at now the next four or five weeks, figuring out how we are going to go about it. I’m very excited. It’s a good challenge, a good test.”

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Roger Federer wins Miami Open with 6-1 6-4 victory over John Isner

  • Posted: Mar 31, 2019

Roger Federer captured his fourth Miami Open title with an emphatic 6-1 6-4 win over defending champion John Isner.

The 37-year-old world number five broke in the opening game and took the first set in 24 minutes.

In his 50th Masters final, the Swiss fourth seed produced some typically sublime groundstrokes and wrapped up the match in an hour and three minutes.

It is his 28th Masters title and the 101st overall for a player who has won 20 Grand Slam singles titles.

Following his victory at the Dubai Championships, Federer becomes the first two-time champion on the ATP Tour this season, ending a streak of 19 different winners in 2019.

Isner came into the first meeting between the pair in Miami having not dropped a set throughout the tournament, winning nine of the 10 sets in the process by tie-break.

Federer had won all four of their previous matches on hard courts and asserted his dominance from the outset.

Seventh seed Isner had treatment on his left foot at 4-3 down in the second set but the match was soon brought to its conclusion as Federer improved his overall record against the angular, 6ft 10in (2.08m) American to six wins in eight matches.

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LIVE: Federer In Full Flight In Miami Final

  • Posted: Mar 31, 2019

LIVE: Federer In Full Flight In Miami Final

Roger Federer and John Isner are facing off for the title

Roger Federer has sprinted out of the gates in the Miami Open presented by Itau final, streaking to a 6-1 lead against John Isner. He broke the American three times in the opening set.

The three-time champion Swiss is not only bidding for a 28th ATP Masters 1000 crown, but also a 101st title at the tour-level. Federer has been at his ruthless best in Miami, having won 10 consecutive sets to reach the championship match.

On the other side of the net, Isner is hoping to add a second Masters 1000 shield to his trophy case with a successful title defence in Miami. Last year, he defeated Alexander Zverev for the crown and on Sunday he is targeting yet another Top 5 scalp for the prestigious title.

It is the oldest combined final in the history of the Masters 1000 tournament. While 37-year-old Federer leads the FedEx ATP Head2Head by a count of 5-2, it was 33-year-old Isner who claimed their most recent meeting, prevailing on the indoor hard courts of Paris in 2015.

Much has changed since they last met four years ago, but Federer’s serving prowess against Isner remains the same. Entering the final, he had saved a combined 16 of 16 break points against the North Carolina native. And he would drop just one point on serve in the opening set on Sunday.  

Federer put the clamps down on Isner’s mammoth delivery from the first ball, immediately applying pressure on the big-hitting American. He would convert his third break point of the opening game to send a message right out of the gates.

A hyper-aggressive Federer was on the attack in longer rallies, pouncing on every short ball and using his backhand slice to disrupt Isner’s rhythm at the back of the court. And he consistently put the 33-year-old out of his comfort zone, often baiting him to come to the net. A running forehand pass secured a second break for the Basel native and he streaked to a one-set lead in a flash, needing just 24 minutes.

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Bryan Brothers Back In Business With Sixth Miami Title

  • Posted: Mar 30, 2019

Bryan Brothers Back In Business With Sixth Miami Title

Third seeds defeat Koolhof/Tsitsipas on Saturday

Bob Bryan and Mike Bryan made it clear they’re back in top form on Saturday by winning their sixth doubles title at Miami Open presented by Itau. The third seeds defended their crown by saving four set points in the second-set tie-break to defeat Wesley Koolhof of the Netherlands and Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece, 7-5, 7-6(6).

“Bob’s been through a lot on the couch. To have him back at full strength and winning here in Miami, [our] hometown, with all the friends and family support is unreal,” said Mike. “This is a special event for us and to defend it is amazing.”

The Bryans picked up their 39th ATP Masters 1000 title and 118th tour-level doubles title as a team. Bob returned to action in January after missing eight months due to a hip injury that he underwent hip replacement surgery for last August. They won their first title in Bob’s comeback last month at the Delray Beach Open by (d. Skupski/Skupski).

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“A doctor was cutting me open eight months ago and I wasn’t sure if I was going to be able to make it back on court,” said Bob. “To win this title is a dream and certainly wasn’t possible eight months ago. This is huge for us.”

The Americans didn’t have it easy in their road to the title. They needed a Match Tie-break to win their second-round clash with Franko Skugor and Nicolas Jarry, and saved four match points in their semi-final victory over top seeds Lukasz Kubot and Marcelo Melo. 

Despite the loss, Koolhof/Tsitsipas can be pleased with their run. Koolhof had never won a match at a Masters 1000 event and Tsitsipas entered Miami with a 3-12 record in ATP Tour doubles events.

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The Bryans dropped just six points on serve in the opening set (24/30) and weren’t pushed to deuce, but applied constant pressure in their return games. Koolhof saved a pair of break points in each of his first two service games and Tsitsipas battled through two break points at 1-1. But with the Dutchman serving at 5-5, the Bryans made good on their seventh chance and comfortably held in the next game to take the early advantage.

Both teams held serve throughout the second set to force a tie-break, but it was Koolhof who played the point of the match in the sixth game of the set. The Dutchman landed a tweener and then worked his way into the net to finish off the point.

Koolhof/Tsitsipas took a 6/3 lead, but couldn’t take advantage of those set points or a fourth opportunity at 7/6. The Dutch-Greek pair erased a championship point with aggressive play at 7/8, but the Bryans converted on their second chance and wrapped up the contest in one hour and 37 minutes.

The Bryans pick up 1,000 ATP Doubles Rankings points and split $457,290. Koolhof/Tsitsipas earn 600 ATP Doubles Rankings points and split $223,170.

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Barty claims Miami Open title to move into top 10

  • Posted: Mar 30, 2019

Australia’s Ashleigh Barty claimed the biggest singles title of her career so far with victory over former world number one Karolina Pliskova in Miami.

The 22-year-old will move into the world top 10 – the first Australian to do so since Samantha Stosur in 2013 – after a 7-6 (7-1) 6-3 win.

She hit a career-high 15 aces against the Czech to earn a fourth title.

After a tightly contested first set, Barty dropped just five points in the final four games to seal victory.

The 5ft 5in Australian’s win in Florida on Saturday means the first 14 events of the 2019 women’s singles season have all been won by different players.

  • Federer to meet Isner in Miami Open final

Barty’s victory continued her remarkable renaissance since returning to the sport in February 2016 having quit two years earlier to play professional cricket.

Now the 2011 Wimbledon junior champion is celebrating her first WTA Premier Mandatory title – the tier of tournaments below the Grand Slams and WTA Finals – and climbing to ninth in the rankings.

Despite only finishing her semi-final win over French Open champion Simona Halep after 1am local time earlier on Saturday, Pliskova made a confident start by breaking Barty’s serve and moving into a 3-1 lead.

But Barty grew into the contest and wore down the 27-year-old to restore parity at 3-3 before taking the first set in a one-sided tie-break.

Barty, who reached the Australian Open quarter-finals in January, took that momentum into the second set, breaking serve in the opening game and sealing her first Miami Open crown when Pliskova sent a forehand long on match point.

“I had to keep it physical, make as many balls as possible and keep my running shoes on,” she said after a match which lasted one hour and 42 minutes.

Big-serving Pliskova, who will rise to fourth in the rankings on Monday, only won 65% of points on her first serve compared to 86% from Barty.

“I am very tired but Ashleigh came up with the goods today,” Pliskova said.

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