Kolkata: In four months it’s the third time God has pitted Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal against each other. And this time, it’s the all important final of the Miami Open slated to be held today. The “Swiss Maestro” as many know Federer as, outplayed Australian Nick Krygios in a nail-biting semi-final to set up a clash with the Spanish superstar.
Undoubtedly one of the best matches in men’s tennis so far this year, former world number one Federer was handed a really tough challenge in the form of 12th seeded Krygios who just did not seem to give up. But at the end of the day, experience was the difference between the two as Federer, the 18-time Grand slam winner, Federer held his nerve to capitalise on the crunch moments after spending more than 190 minutes on the court in Craydon Park. As a result, he beat Krygios 7-6 (11-9), 6-7 (9-11), 7-6 (7-5) to set up a date with Nadal, his greatest ever rival.
Reflecting upon the hard fought victory, Federer said, “It did feel very good, because you don’t very often play three breakers in a match. It’s nice to win those and winning breakers is always such a thrill.” He also explained as to why this victory against Australian Krygios was so sweet. “It’s great winning this way, especially because I remember the loss against him a few years ago, It was rough. It was the birthday of my boys. I wasn’t with them and had that match, so it was nice to get this one,” the Swiss said.
This sets up a dramatic final between the two legends in men’s tennis who had met in the Australian Open final and in the Indian Wells earlier this year. Federer emerged as the victor on both the occasions as for the third consecutive time, he has got the better of his Spanish counterpart. But the final today is going to be a different ball game, as the two-time winner Federer is wary of the challenge Nadal can pose, especially as the latter hasn’t won this tournament yet.
But Federer (35) is ready for the challenge. “I feel like there is a mountain to climb in Rafa. He’s hasn’t won this event before. He’s definitely feeling fresher than I feel right now. But that’s not a problem. I’ll be ready on Sunday,” Federer pointed out. Nadal beat Italian Fabio Fognini in the semi-final 6-1, 7-5 to enter the finals.
There have been many great tennis players but what makes this Federer-Nadal rivalry so special and unique is the fact that both these legends have mutual respect for each other and are aware of the challenges each of them faces. And Federer’s statement proves just that. “It’s definitely going to be very special playing Rafa here again. I’m thrilled for him that he came back as well as he did after the comeback and the struggles that he had last year,” Federer said.
And quite frankly, just like the fans, Federer too doesn’t want this to be the end of this epic 13-year-old rivalry. “It feels like old times. We’re playing each other every week now. We can’t get enough of each other. Hopefully it’s not our last match,” said Federer.
Going by the current form, Federer would undoubtedly be the favourite for Sunday’s final. But Nadal who has reached the final of this event earlier in the past, isn’t someone who would go down without a fight.
Defying time and age, these two have given their best to entertain their fans. And Sunday would be a day when another chapter would be added to the story of the greatest rivalry in men’s tennis.
(With inputs from Sportskeeda.com)