The irrepressibleRoger Federer maintained his recent hold over arch-rival Rafael Nadal to continue his remarkable 2017 revival with a 6-3 6-4triumph in Sunday'sMiami Open final.
At the scene of his first meeting with Nadal, which took place 13 years ago, Federer was able to make it four wins in a row against the Spaniard,followinghis recent Masters 1000 success in Indian Wells by claiminghis thirdMiami title and first since 2006.
The 35-year-old Swisshas now won three of the four tournaments he has competed in this year, a stunning return following the injury troubles that blighted his previous season.
In addition, he has also proven able to get the better of Nadal –the man he defeated in an epic Australian Open final in January–on a consistentbasis, having trailed 23-10 in their head-to-head prior to his recent streak of victories.
Federer, who previously completed an Indian Wells/Miami double in 2005 and 2006, was made to work hard for his latest glory by an opponent who has now lost five finals in Miami without winning once.
There were numerous break-point opportunities for both men in a compelling first set.
Yet after Nadal had spurned four chances to seize the upper hand, withFederer at times riding his luck to hold, it was the Swiss who claimed a decisive advantage in the eighth game.
As his forehand started to prove increasingly potent, Federer eventually converted his sixth break point –and third of the game –when a powerful cross-court stroke forced Nadal to net.
A comfortable hold of serve secured the opener, and Nadal's dogged efforts thereafter ultimately proved in vain as Federer took advantage of a stroke of luck at 4-4 in set two, when a dead net cord gave him the opportunity to break.
Nadal duly went long, and although Federer began the next game with a double fault, an outrageous backhand winner down the line helped him to serve out the match.