Roger Federer saved two match points to pull through in an epic Miami Open clash with Tomas BerdychThursday and move into the semifinals after triumphing 6-2, 3-6, 7-6 (8-6).
The Swiss star 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 seedFederer 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.
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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 mis-hit 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.