Roger Federer took to the court for his semifinal at Stuttgart against Nick Kyrgios knowing that a win would see him again at the top of the ATP tennis rankings.
The players had met on two previous occasions with a win each, both in three sets and all sets decided in tie-breaks.
Federer was serving well and did not offer a single break point in the first set, while he had two against the Kyrgios serve. Big-serving would save the breakpoint opportunities so we again saw the players decide a set in a breaker. On this occasion, it was Kyrgios who jumped out to an early lead and held on to take the first set 7-6(2).
Back-to-back double faults from Kyrgios in the third game of the second set saw the first break of serve in the match and put Federer out to a 2-1 lead. He then served out to love to jump out to 3-1.
At 4-2 Federer got another break of serve to step up to serve for the set, the first time for these players a set was not decided in a tie-break. With three aces Federer easily took the set to level the match at a set a piece.
In the third set Kyrgios lifted his game and did not offer a break point, Federer also was on song with his serve and continued to easily win games and he did not have a single break point against him.
The match was again to be decided by a tie-breaker. Kyrgios again jumped to an early lead, however, Federer this time fought back, Federer got himself ahead with a mini-break to lead 5-4 but then hit long to see Kyrgios back level at 5-5.
A good serve and volley took Federer to match point with Kyrgios serving and after hitting a short cross-court return he pulled Kyrgios into the net, the Australian hit a great half-volley however it sat there waiting for Federer to play a shot down the line to claim the victory.
The final score was 6-7(2), 6-2, 7-6(5). With the win, Federer will return to no. 1 on Monday.
Federer pointed out that was the case and he said he was excited to be in the final against Milos Raonic. The Canadian had defeated the defending champion Lucas Pouille 6-4, 7-6(3).
In the post-match interview, Federer said, “I am very happy, very relieved. I thought it was the tough match I expected against Nick, we’ve played so many breakers already, I stopped losing count, and it was close, look, could have gone either way naturally but I am happy I got and got back to world no. 1 next Monday so it’s very exciting and I got another final, so it is great news.”
Despite Kyrgios firing down 23 aces and serving at 71% of first serves against Federer’s 12 aces and 63% serving it was Federer who did not give up a single break point, Federer served six love games to Kyrgios with one.