John Isner, the winner of 2018 Miami Open, has reached his second consecutive final at the tournament by defeating the young Canadian Felix Auger-Aliassime 7-6, 7-6 in this year's semi-final.
The heart-breaking fact for Auger-Aliassime is that he was up a break in both the sets before he lost them to Isner. The American fired 21 aces in the match compared with Auger-Aliassime's 4.
Isner has been part of 9 tie-breakers at this year's Miami Open and he has won them all.
Inconsistency in the crunch moments was clearly visible in the Canadian's game tonight. He was fantastic in all departments except the pressure situations.
Isner's main strength was his serve and he capitalized on the mini-breaks offered to him in both the tiebreakers. He has fired 90 aces in the tournament so far and will be banking on that in his final match.
In the second semi-final, Roger Federer defeated another young Canadian Denis Shapovalov 6-2, 6-4 in a match that lasted roughly over 70 minutes.
Federer got a break point in the first game of the first set but was unable to get through. He ended up getting the break at 2-1, and was never really in trouble after that.
Shapovalov made 32 unforced errors in the entire match as he needlessly tried to hit winners instead of extending the rallies.
Federer's main positive take-away from this match was his unforced errors number - he made just eight throughout. He was comfortable in just extending the rallies and waiting for Shapovalov to make errors.
That said, Federer's first serve percentage in this match was a mere 49%, which could be a cause for concern if it remains the same in the final. Isner is a player who secures his serve by repeatedly hitting aces, and if Federer is unable to secure his own service games, it will be very tough for him to get the win.
He is certainly in brilliant form off the ground though; right from his match against Daniil Medvedev in the fourth round, Federer has showed outright dominance and elegance in every match. His unforced errors have been low and he is playing some phenomenal tennis after the hiccups he had in late 2018 and in the Australian Open earlier this year.
It's going to be a case of a smashing serve against elegance personified in the final of the Miami Open, and the fans in the Hard Rock Stadium are in for a treat.Published 30 Mar 2019, 12:18 IST