Federer survives Berdych threat in Miami

Chasing a shot in the second set of Friday's semifinal Nadal lost his right sneaker- and the point

The Miami Open final on Sunday will be the 23 time Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal will meet in a championship tilt.

It is the latest flashback in what it is turning out, so far, to be a season that harks back to an era everyone thought was confined to the realms of happy nostalgia.

They met again in Miami, one year later, this time in the final and it was Federer who triumphed, fighting his way back from two sets down to win the five-set contest.

Federer's three-hour semi-final against the controversial Australian was a thriller after all three of the sets went to tie breaks.

The second set took an nearly identical path, albeit with fewer openings to break for both players until Federer again pounced, to grab a 5-4 lead when Nadal went long returning a fine backhand. Federer failed to take advantage of five early break-point chances himself but broke in the next to last game of both sets.

Federer made sure that there will be another episode to his rivalry with Nadal, which began in Miami 13 years ago.

When Nadal sailed a return long on the final point, Federer took the ball on a bounce behind the baseline and happily whacked it into the stands, then waved with both hands in jubilation. The Majorcan, despite some ups and downs, was able to reach his third final of 2017, and we are certain that after the defeats against Federer he will want a revenge. "It's definitely going to be very special playing Rafa here again", he added.

Nadal was outplayed by the Swiss in their most recent meeting in Indian Wells but the world No7 is unfazed by that result.

The last time he started the year winning these three tournaments was 2006.

So the fans are all set for a blockbuster clash when the two greatest players in modern tennis history battle it out for the Miami Open title.

"I think I played a very good first set", Nadal assessed.

The Miami Open continues tomorrow with the women's final between Britain's Johanna Konta and Denmark's Caroline Wozniacki.

"That's great news for me". "I served well (today)".

Normally, I would have a break at the beginning of the second.

At 5-5, however, just when it looked as if Fognini might force a decisive third set, he double faulted and Nadal grabbed the break before sealing the match four points later.

"But when you don't convert opportunities you're in trouble, and that's what happened".

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