Roger Federer superbly cut Kevin Anderson down to size with a magical ATP and WTA Miami Open display to seal his spot in the semi-finals with a 6-0, 6-4 victory.
The Swiss came into the match with Anderson knowing the World No 7’s huge serve could be the difference at Hard Rock Stadium, just as it was in a dramatic five set, last eight encounter at Wimbledon won by the South African last summer.
Yet after a whirlwind first set, Federer had broken the Anderson serve three times and "bageled" his opponent, much to the delight of a packed house on center court who came to show their appreciation for the evergreen 37 year-old as he chases a fourth Miami title which would take his career tally to 101.
It was the first time Anderson, 32, has ever lost a first set at ATP level to love.
There were only 27 minutes on the clock when Federer, whose backhand slice in particular was causing Anderson all manner of problems, broke in the first game of the second.
After that, despite some resistance from Anderson, there really only ever looked like being one outcome.
"I played a really solid first set and got a good read on his serve," said the current World No 5 who has improved with every match on this run to the last four.
"It was tough because I know he keeps going and if you get passive you need to come up with a good passing shot.
"Maybe I got a bit lucky at the end, but I am just pleased to get through."
The Swiss plays Canadian starlet Denis Shapovalov, 19, in what will be a first meeting between the pair on Friday for a place in Sunday’s final.
"The young guys are going to carry the game forward after we have stopped playing," Federer said. "I am looking forward to watching them slug it out in the future while I am sat on the couch."
On this evidence, though, the 20 time Slam-winning star remains incredibly hard to beat.
Anderson refused to buckle and when he finally managed to get on the board by breaking the former World No 1's serve, he was sarcastically applauded by some sections of what was a predictably pro-Federer crowd.
The remainder of the second set remained incredibly tight as Anderson relied on a serve that wasn't firing consistently — a recent elbow problem which forced him out of Indian Wells this month appearing to hamper him at times.
But he remained dangerous enough to save five break points in an epic ninth game.
Federer, however, finally moved to within one service game of victory when Anderson hit long and was broken. The Swiss then served out to love as the clock showed one hour and 25 minutes.
Ashleigh Barty enters final
In-form Australian Ashleigh Barty moved into her biggest WTA final on Thursday, continuing her excellent run at the Miami Open with a 6-3, 6-3 victory over Estonia's Anett Kontaveit.
The first ever meeting between the pair was frustratingly punctuated with lengthy rain delays, the longest of which lasted for over four hours.
When the action finally got going, however, it was Barty who managed to keep her composure to get the better of an error prone Kontaveit.
She will play either Simona Halep or Karolina Pliskova in Saturday’s final and cannot wait to try and land her first WTA Premier Mandatory crown.
The 22 year-old will move into the world top 10 when the new rankings are released and was delighted to wrap up this last-four encounter in just 77 minutes of playing time.
"It was a very long day, I know we had to wait around but it was an opportunity to drink some coffee and watch the golf so I was relaxed," said Barty who took time out of the game in 2015 to play cricket before returning in 2016.
"When I came out I was ready for business. I didn't start well but I was able to reset and do what I had to do."
Having started this semi-final and quickly established a 2-0 lead before the first weather problems began, Kontaveit returned to Hard Rock Stadium’s center court only to be broken for 2-2.
Then came more rain, and more frustrations for the fans and players alike. On resumption, it was Barty who wrestled back the initiative, making inroads on the Kontaveit serve to move 5-3 ahead.
The Australian World No 11 was now firmly in control — she won 87 percent of points on her first serve which in turn ensured Kontaveit took just one of four break opportunities on offer in the opening set — and a double fault saw Barty move one set up.
Barty's level noticeably dropped at the start of the second as 19th-ranked Kontaveit began to carve out opportunities to claw her way back into the match.
One breakpoint went begging but when Barty double faulted for the second time in two games, Kontaveit had another chance which was sealed when the Australian hit long.
The Estonian, however, was too inconsistent to keep the pressure on and a sloppy service game allowed Barty to draw level at 3-3.
The final statistics showed Kontaveit won just 58 percent of points on her first serve compared to 83 percent from Barty.
She was rushing through her shots and making too many errors — and coach Nigel Sears told her as much during a coaching break midway through the second set.
Yet when Kontaveit was broken again for 5-3, Barty, who impressively beat world number two Petra Kvitova in the quarter-finals, held with authority to move into Saturday's showpiece.
Your guide to the latest seat tally, live updates, analysis and list of winners for Lok Sabha Elections 2019 on firstpost.com/elections. Follow us on Twitter and Instagram or like our Instagram or like our Facebook page for updates from all 542 constituencies on counting day of the general elections.
Updated Date: Mar 29, 2019 08:54:03 IST