Federer beats Kyrgios to reach Miami Open final

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KEY BISCAYNE, Fla. (AP) Roger Federer’s season of resurgence took another thrilling turn Friday night when he won a seesaw semifinal against Nick Kyrgios at the Miami Open, 7-6 (9), 6-7 (9), 7-6 (5).

Federer was unable to convert two match points in the second-set tiebreaker but finished off the flashy, unpredictable Kyrgios an hour later.

When Federer hit a service winner on the final point, Kyrgios angrily whacked his racket three times against the hard court. Federer patiently waited until the Aussie was done before triumphantly swatting a ball into the stands.

Kyrgios then gave his racket a fling as the crowd booed before sharing a warm, weary exchange with Federer at the net.

Federer saved two match points in his quarterfinal win over Tomas Berdych. Now he’s in the final Sunday against Rafael Nadal, 13 years after their first career encounter, also at Key Biscayne.

There will be a first-time Miami Open women’s champion Saturday when Caroline Wozniacki plays Johanna Konta.

Federer won Key Biscayne in 2005 and 2006 and hasn’t been to the final since. But the 18-time Grand Slam champion is on the rise at age 35.

He’s 18-1 this year, his best start since 2006, including titles at the Australian Open in January and at Indian Wells two weeks ago, and has won 10 matches in a row. None was more harrowing than the latest victory.

A sellout crowd was firmly in Federer’s corner, and the big-hitter Kyrgios played the role of unpopular spoiler brilliantly. He drew jeers every time he took his frustration out on his racket, received code violations for swearing and slow play, and complained about the fans when they shouted during a rally in the final tiebreaker.

And then there was Kyrgios’ high-wire game, including huge groundstrokes that forced his opponent to play some dazzling defense.

Federer rallied from a break down in the first set, and overcame two set points in the first tiebreaker. He didn’t face a break point in the final two sets.

Kyrgios’ final risky shot backfired – a 128-mph second serve sailed long for a double fault. That gave Federer his third match point – the last one he needed.

The victory was payback for Federer after Kyrgios overcame two match points to win their only other meeting, at Madrid in 2015. That match also was a three-setter with three tiebreakers.

Nadal was so eager to reach the Key Biscayne final that he ran out of his shoe. Chasing a shot in the second set of his semifinal, Nadal lost his right sneaker – and the point. But he quickly regained his footing and beat unseeded Fabio Fognini 6-1, 7-5.

Nadal is 0-4 in finals at Key Biscayne, losing in 2005, 2008, 2011 and 2014. He’s playing in the tournament for the 13th time, making it his longest title drought at any event.

“Winning here would be something great, and an important title I haven’t won,” Nadal said.

The crowd chanted Fognini’s first name in an attempt to get the Italian going after a slow start, and flying footwear did the job. Fognini hit a drop shot to cause the sneaker malfunction, laughed at length while Nadal retied his shoe and played better after that.

Nadal said he also lost a shoe while practicing recently, the only other time he can remember it happening to him.

“Strange,” he said. “Maybe I need to tie it stronger.”

Alcaraz, Fritz, Andreescu advance to Miami Open 3rd round

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MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. — Carlos Alcaraz picked up a straight-set win at the Miami Open on Friday to keep his world No. 1 ranking over idle Novak Djokovic.

Djokovic is not participating in the Miami Open because he still cannot travel to the United States as a foreign citizen who is not vaccinated against COVID-19.

Alcaraz, who beat Casper Ruud in the 2022 U.S. Open final for his first No. 1 ranking, defeated Facundo Bagnis 6-0, 6-2 to advance to the third round in Miami.

Rafael Nadal dropped out of the top 10 on Monday for the first time in 18 years. Alcaraz, a 19-year-old from Spain, rose into that spot a day after ending Daniil Medvedev’s 19-match winning streak by beating him in straight sets in the final at Indian Wells, California.

Ruud, who’s ranked No. 4, won his match against Ilya Ivashka 6-2, 6-3. He’ll face No. 26 Botic van de Zandschulp on Sunday in the third round.

No. 1 American and No. 9 seed Taylor Fritz began his tournament campaign with a 6-4, 6-1 win over Emilio Nava. Fritz is 17-1 in his opening rounds of hard court tournaments since the start of 2022, with his only loss coming at the 2022 U.S. Open to No. 303 Brandon Holt.

Fritz will next face No. 24 Denis Shapovalov, who defeated Guido Pella on Friday.

On the women’s side, Bianca Andreescu – the 2019 U.S. Open champion – came from a set down to oust No. 7 seed Maria Sakkari 5-7, 6-3, 6-4. Andreescu improved to 2-1 over Sakkari, with both wins coming in Miami.

Andreescu will face Sofia Kenin in the third round.

No. 2 Aryna Sabalenka beat Shelby Rogers 6-4, 6-3 and extended her record to 4-0 versus Rogers. Sabalenka will face No. 31 Marie Bouzková in the third round.

No. 5 Caroline Garcia lost to Sorana Cirstea 6-2, 6-3. Cirstea beat Garcia 10 days ago in the fourth round at Indian Wells, and will face Karolína Muchová next.

In other action, Varvara Gracheva defeated No. 4 Ons Jabeur 6-2, 6-2; and Jannik Sinner beat Laslo Đere 6-4, 6-2.

Coco Gauff, Jessica Pegula reach Miami Open 3rd round

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Geoff Burke/USA TODAY Sports
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MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. — Sixth-seeded Coco Gauff opened her 2023 Miami Open with a 6-4, 6-3 victory over Rebecca Marino and advanced to the third round where she will face 27th-seeded Anastasia Potapova.

After her victory, Gauff, coming off a quarterfinals appearance at Indian Wells, said in a television interview that it wasn’t her best outing, despite converting five of her nine break points.

“It was a shaky performances honestly,” Gauff said. “I knew it wasn’t going to be a straight forward match, even if I was up a break sometimes.”

Gauff came back from a break down twice in the second set to claim her second career win versus Marino. Gauff defeated Marino in the first round at Roland Garros in 2022.

Gauff said she was a bit nervous playing in her hometown – she’s a native of Delray Beach, Florida, a small city about 40 miles north of Hard Rock Stadium, where the tournament is played. Jimmy Butler of the Miami Heat was among those in attendance Thursday.

“Jimmy Butler is here so I was a little bit nervous when I saw him,” Gauff said with a laugh in her post-match interview. “Playing home is something I look forward to, but it’s also a little bit of extra pressure because everyone wants you to do well here.”

Gauff’s doubles teammate, world No. 3 Jessica Pegula beat Katherine Sebov 6-3, 6-1 and advanced to the third round. She will face fellow American and No. 30 Danielle Collins next. Collins defeated Viktoriya Tomova on Thursday.

Pegula made the Miami Open semifinals in 2022 and is among the favorites to win the tournament this year after No. 1-ranked and defending champion Iga Swiatek pulled out of the tournament because of a rib injury.

No. 21 Paula Badosa won 7-6(2), 4-6, 6-2 against Laura Siegemund in a match that lasted two hours and 51 minutes. Badosa will face either Elena Rybakina, who defeated Badosa en route to the Indian Wells title, or Anna Kalinskaya.

Badosa hit with a ball kid during the match to stay warm after Siegemund called for a medical timeout and left the court for treatment, which took nearly 15 minutes.

In other action, Elise Mertens eliminated No. 8 seed Daria Kasatkina 4-6, 6-2, 6-2 to advance and face No. 29 Petra Martic next; No. 23 Qinwen Zheng picked up a 2-6, 6-1, 6-1 win over Irina-Camelia Begu; and No. 13 seed Beatriz Haddad Maia defeated Tereza Martincová 7-6 (4), 0-6, 6-0.