Federer edges out Berdych in Miami Open epic
Tomas Berdych let two match points slip against Roger Federer, as the Swiss moved into the last four in Miami.
Roger Federer saved two match points to come through an epic Miami Open clash with Tomas Berdych and move into the semi-finals after triumphing 6-2 3-6 7-6 (8-6).
The Swiss is enjoying a sparkling renaissance in 2017 and the Australian Open champion has maintained his run of form at Crandon Park, having brushed aside Juan Martin del Potro and overcome Roberto Bautista-Agut in two tie-breaks to reach the last eight.
It had looked as if he would have little trouble with Berdych, who he has not lost to since 2013, after a routine first set. However, fourth seed Federer found the Czech to be a formidable opponent on this occasion.
Berdych battled back to force a decider and then came from a break down in an absorbing third to lead in the tie-break.
The pressure appeared too much for Berdych, though, as he wilted in the face of a final riposte from former world number one Federer, who improved his record in their head-to-head to 18-6 and set up a semi-final with either Nick Kyrgios or Alexander Zverev.
Federer - an 18-time grand-slam champion - quickly took command in the opening game of the match, breaking as Berdych fired a wayward forehand long.
He then survived a break point on his serve and his lead was widened in the seventh game when an almost nonchalant backhand volley extended his advantage to 5-2.
But Federer was not afforded the same opportunities to break in the second and instead it was Berdych who was rewarded for finding his rhythm with his forehand.
A wide forehand from Federer put Berdych 5-3 to the good and he promptly held to send the contest to a third when the world number six netted a backhand.
His efforts appeared set to be in vain after Berdych turned a powerful backhand return from Federer into the net at 3-2 down to hand the veteran the break.
Federer moved a game away from victory when he consolidated the break courtesy of a complete mishit from Berdych. Yet Berdych responded by rattling off the next two games for the loss of just one point.
Further evidence of Berdych's resolve came as he then saved a match point with a booming second serve before holding with a stunning angled backhand.
His subsequent service game was won to love by Berdych to force a tie-break and, when he crafted a 6-4 lead, the long wait for a win over Federer finally seemed to be over.
Yet with two match points, Berdych cracked, Federer winning the next three, with victory wrapped up through a double-fault from an opponent who will yet again wonder what might have been.