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Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 19 April 2019

Miami Open: Roger Federer braced for big-serving Kevn Anderson, Simona Halep stays on No 1 course

Swiss is celebrating 20 years at this tournament and edged closer to his fourth title as Daniil Medvedev was swatted aside 6-4, 6-2

Roger Federer salutes the crowd after beating Daniil Medvedev in the Miami Open fourth round. AP Photo
Roger Federer salutes the crowd after beating Daniil Medvedev in the Miami Open fourth round. AP Photo

Roger Federer is preparing himself for a barrage of Kevin Anderson big serves after the Swiss superstar sealed his place in the Miami Open quarter-finals in just 61 minutes on Wednesday.

Federer, 37, is celebrating 20 years at this tournament and edged closer to his fourth title in South Florida as the up-and-coming Russian Daniil Medvedev was swatted aside 6-4, 6-2.

Next up for the 20-time grand slam-winning legend is the South African world No 7, who famously beat Federer at Wimbledon in 2018 over five dramatic sets.

That triumph was Anderson's only win over Federer in six attempts - and the only time he's won a set.

But having classily dealt with Medvedev, the former world No 1 knows it won't be as straightforward with Anderson at the other end of the Hard Rock Stadium's center court.

"I think if you beat me at Wimbledon, you've got my attention," Federer said. "He's got a great serve and I'm happy he's playing again after his injury.

"So from that standpoint, I know what I'm about to expect tomorrow. The matches I have played against him I know can be extremely close always, just because of his sheer possibilities that he has on the serve.

"I believe that probably the best surface for him is this kind of a type of hard court here in the States where he's spent a lot of his time practicing, as well.

"I've just got to make sure I protect my serve very well and slice maybe sometimes, get into the rallies, and then find a way. So it will be interesting to see how it's going to go."

Isner maintains title defence

John Isner needed two tiebreaks to defeat Roberto Bautista Agut in the Miami Open quarter-finals. Reuters
John Isner needed two tiebreaks to defeat Roberto Bautista Agut in the Miami Open quarter-finals. Reuters

Defending champion John Isner, meanwhile, powered his way to the semi-finals as Roberto Bautista Agut, who sent world No 1 Novak Djokovic crashing out in the previous round, was seen off 7-6, 7-6.

Isner will face Canadian teen sensation Felix Auger-Aliassime in the last four. The 18-year-old Auger-Aliassime became the youngest ever Miami semi-finalist after seeing off world No 13 Borna Coric 7-6, 6-2.

"It feels surreal to get this far, especially as I came through qualifying, " said Auger-Aliassime. "I just tried to impose myself from the start."

Halep stays on No 1 course

Simona Halep needs to reach the Miami Open final to reclaim the No 1 ranking. AP Photo
Simona Halep needs to reach the Miami Open final to reclaim the No 1 ranking. AP Photo

In the women's draw, Simona Halep moved closer to reclaiming the world No 1 ranking after a well-executed 6-4, 7-5 triumph over China's Wang Qiang.

Following Petra Kvitova's exit on Tuesday, Halep needs only to reach Saturday's final to knock Naomi Osaka off the top of women's tennis after being deposed following the Japanese's second major win at the Australian Open earlier this year.

Halep's recovery from 1-5 down in the second set showed the kind of mental toughness displayed by only the very best, and the Romanian is looking in good shape to land her first Miami title, even if she's not overly consumed about the prospect of reclaiming the No 1 tag.

"It doesn't mean everything to get back to No 1. It's more important to finish the year in that position," said the second seed. "But if I do it, I will be very proud."

Halep will meet world No 7 Karolina Pliskova in the last four on Thursday after she won the battle of the Czechs with Marketa Vondrousova 6-3, 6-4.

"The first set was very close, she played well but I just tried to be more aggressive, " said Pliskova after reaching her third semi-final of 2019. "A match against Simona is always intense."

Updated: March 28, 2019 10:01 AM

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