For the third year in a row, the Australian Open, Indian Wells, and Miami had the same champion, only this time it wasn’t Novak Djokovic but rather the same man who had last accomplished this feat back in 2006, when his semifinal opponent (Nick Kyrgios) hadn’t even hit puberty: Roger Federer. The Swiss man captured the 91st title of his illustrious career, 26th at the Masters 1000 level, and 3rd in Miami, to continue a campaign that has him with a very good chance of ending the year as the No. 1 player in the world.
Of all 91 titles Federer has won, this might have been the toughest of them all; it was the 6th time he had to fight off match points en route to the title, this time against Berdych in the quarterfinals, but this time he was on the brink of defeat in the following match as well, barely escaping Nick Kyrgios in a deciding set tiebreak where the Aussie led 5-4 with two serves to close it out. But once again there was nothing stopping Federer from continuing what has been a dream 2017 so far.
For Nadal, it was more of the same as he lost his 3rd final of the year (2nd to Federer) and continued his negative trend in this rivalry. It was a 5th Miami final for Nadal and a 5th defeat in a tournament that he seems perhaps destined to never win. The great news for Nadal is of course that the clay season is right around the corner and he’ll surely be optimistic about his chances of success.
The main takeaway from Miami is that, in a throwback to the mid 2000s, Federer and Nadal have clearly been the two best players in the world this year, while most other top players have been struggling with either form or injury. But it’s still early in the year and the clay season is a whole different ball game, it remains to be seen whether the likes of Djokovic, Murray, and others can respond to this incredible start from Nadal and especially Federer.
With this title in Miami Federer stays in pursuit of Connors’s all-time records for titles (91 vs 109), finals (139 vs 164) and match wins (1099 vs 1254). Things can change very quickly in tennis, but at the rate Federer is going right now it looks more like a question when than if he’ll break at least those records.