Federer defeats Nadal in Miami final
Eleven years after last winning the Miami Open presented by Itau and completing the Sunshine Double, Roger Federer prevailed again in Miami with a 6-3, 6-4 win over Rafael Nadal.
The win gives Federer his 26th ATP World Tour Masters 1000 title. This is also the third time he's won Indian Wells and Miami back-to-back and the first time since 2006.
Federer picks up his third title of the season after winning his 18th Grand Slam title at the Australian Open and prevailing in Indian Wells (d. Wawrinka). Meanwhile, Nadal is still seeking for his first ATP World Tour title of 2017, dropping to 0-3 in finals after finishing runner-up at the Australian Open and Acapulco (l. Querrey). Nadal was denied a first Miami title and drops to 0-5 in finals at this event.
Federer improves his FedEx ATP Head2Head rivalry with Nadal to 14-23, but now leads 10-9 on hard courts and has won their past four matches. Federer is 3-0 against Nadal in 2017, also prevailing in five sets in the Australian Open final and scoring a convincing straight-sets win in the Round of 2016 at the BNP Paribas Open.
FIRST SET - Federer 6-3
There were break points in six of the nine games played, but those chances were routinely erased with winners or other outstanding shots. Federer saved two break points in his opening service game, while Nadal saved two on his own serve at 1-2. More break points also came and went over the next four games.But with Nadal serving at 3-4, Federer continued to apply pressure and converted on his sixth opportunity of the set at 4-3 with a strong forehand. The fourth seed then comfortably held in the next game to take a commanding advantage.
The key story of the opening set was Federer's dominance in the baseline rallies and ability to be more aggressive. While both players had 10 unforced errors, Federer doubled Nadal in winners (18 to 9). His forehand was especially potent, with 12 of his winners coming off that wing.
SECOND SET - Federer 6-4
The second set was in stark contrast to the first, with both players trading routine service holds early on. Federer was especially dominant, going on a flawless 12-point run in his first three service games. The Swiss star earned the first two break points of the set at 3-3, but Nadal erased them with a forehand volley winner and backhand winner up the line to eventually hold serve. Luck seemed to find Federer at 4-4, as a backhand from him that clipped the top of the tape eventually led to a winning lob and third break point chance.
He took full advantage, with a backhand long from Nadal giving Federer the chance to serve out the match at 5-4. Federer comfortably held on his first try, wrapping up the match as a Nadal forehand sailed long after one hour and 34 minutes.
Federer finished the day with 29 winners to 19 unforced errors. Both players were even on the backhand wing with five winners each, but Federer was more dominant on the forehand side (19 to 8). The Swiss star didn't drop serve in the match, saving all four break points he faced in the opening set.