While the early semi final between Rafael Nadal and Fabio Fognini feels like it will be a routine win for Nadal, the late semi final between Roger Federer and Nick Kyrgios has the potential to be one of the matches of the tournament with both players playing at a very high level. They were initially scheduled to play in the quarter finals at Indian Wells but illness saw Kyrgios have to withdraw before the match.
Federer lost a set for the first time during this year’s North American swing against Tomas Berdych and it could have been so much worse for Federer who looked slightly off his game yesterday compared to the standards he has shown in 2017. He led 5-2 in the final set, held match point and served for the match only to be broken to love. He had to save 2 match points in the eventual tiebreak, being thankful for Berdych’s double fault on match point allowing him to escape with the victory. “I felt really good after the first set. I think then I maybe let Tomas back into the match as well just a bit. Also, he started to play bigger and better. I’m happy I fought hard and somehow got it done today.” Federer said.
Meanwhile, Kyrgios also needed multiple match points to beat Alexander Zverev, eventually coming through in three sets 6-4 6-7 6-3. Having missed 3, including 1 on serve, in the second set he recovered well to pick up the sole break when up 3-2 in the decider. “I respect his game. He’s beaten some of the best players in the world. I know that I can’t bring 75 or 80 per cent of my game. I have to bring 100 per cent, that’s what I did today and I got over the line.” Kyrgios said of his opponent.
Kyrgios has an admirable 4-6 record against the Big 4 and even more so when you consider that it is skewed by his 0-5 record against Andy Murray. That includes a 1-0 record against Federer, coming in Madrid when he won a final set tiebreak 14-12. Kyrgios has already shown he is capable of beating the top players with 2 wins over Djokovic this year and a win over Federer would further reinforce that the Australian has matured greatly and is ready to be a legitimate threat at grand slams.
Prediction – Nick Kyrgios in three sets