Miami Masters: Federer cruises past Isner to win yet another title

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Roger Federer won his 101st professional title after he defeated reigning champion John Isner at the Miami Masters final on Sunday.

The 37-year-old Swiss, who has risen back to world number four, won his 28th ATP Masters 1000 crown after the straight sets victory.

The final was a straight forward affair for the veteran, breaking the American’s serve in the very first game. In fact Federer only lost one game against serve the whole set, winning 6-1.

John Isner surprised many this time last year, when seeded 14th he managed to win the title.

Impressive victories en route included those over Marin Cilic and Juan Martin Del Potro, before beating Alexander Zverev in a thrilling final.

This year’s tournament also proved a successful one as he sailed his way to the final without even losing a set.

Seen as some sort of tiebreak king, Isner recorded 7-6 7-6 in all five of his victories. Kyle Edmund and Roberto Bautista-Agut were two of those falling.

However Sunday Federer was too good for the world number 10, who was troubled by foot problems during the second set.

It was still a more balanced set though, with both holding serve, which implied Isner may get a chance at a tiebreak.

However Federer, now four-time champion at Miami, was able to break Isner’s serve at the death, clinching the set 6-4.

At this rate it can seem as if he might never do, but after the match Isner pleaded Federer not to retire: “Roger, we’re so lucky to have you and we want you to keep playing and literally never retire.”

“I’m just so happy right now. It’s unbelievable. I played here in 1999 for the first time and here I am in 2019. It means a lot to me,” said Federer after lifting another trophy.

The Swiss legend actually got off to a nervy start to the tournament after finding himself a set down to the in-form Romanian qualifier Radu Albot, who won his maiden ATP title last month at Delray Beach. Federer however was able to win the match 4-6 7-5 6-3.

Following this, he defeated Filip Krajinovic of Serbia, before going on to thrash Daniil Medvedev, Kevin Anderson, and young Canadian Denis Shapovalov in the semi-final.

Shapovalov was not the only young Canadian who made it far in Florida.

High flying 18-year-old Felix Auger-Aliassime shone once again, reaching his first ever Masters 1000 semi-final. Not only is the Montreal man so young, but he had to go through qualifying to reach the main draw, meaning he played two extra matches en route.

Much like Federer, Auger-Aliassime had a tough start to the main draw, being pushed the distance by Norway’s Casper Ruud and 29th seed Marton Fucsovics of Hungary. He then went on to defeat fellow young guns Hubert Hurkacz and Borna Coric in straight sets, doing the same to 17th seed Basilashvili in between.

Auger-Aliassime would have been disappointed however with the way his tournament ended. Facing Isner to make the final, the teenager found himself serving for both sets.

However, untimely double faults and poor second serves meant both times Isner got himself back for a tiebreak. Another 7-6 7-6 win for the American, and the youngster crashed out.

The Canadian will have to take a lot of positives from the week though. Before his loss to Isner, he had played his first five matches against top 20 players and won them all. Not even a young Federer can boast that statistic.

So with another masterful title for the Swiss, and the impressive weeks for both young Canadians, the surprise of the week really went under the radar.

Djokovic stunned

World number one Novak Djokovic was a set and a break up to Roberto Bautista-Agut in the round of 16, before losing a second successive match to the man from Eastern Spain.

Baustista-Agut stunned Djokovic before the Australian Open, beating him in the semi-final of the Qatar Open, going onto win it. The comeback this time round made it an even bigger upset.

After a near perfect Australian Open for Djokovic, his two months out may be coming back to haunt him. These back-to-back Masters’ defeats at the hands of Philipp Kohlschreiber and Bautista-Agut raise questions of the Serbian’s form as we head towards the clay court season.

Djokovic will be fancied as one of the few men who can stop world number two Rafael Nadal from winning the French Open crown for a breathtaking twelfth time.

However if this form continues, it might seem unlikely. The Serb will be hoping to get back to winning ways on clay.

Written by Michael Gillett (@MichaelBGJourno)