Roger Federer collected his third prestigious title in in three months when he repeated his Australian Open victory over his main rival over the last decade, Rafa Nadal, to pocket his third Miami Masters crown.
What a start to the year. I canÈt believe it. For me the dream continues
For Nadal, the 6-3 6-4 loss was a bitter one as he was denied the Miami title for a fifth time.
For Federer it was his 91st career title as the rejuvenated Swiss star continues to confound everyone with huis success since returning from his six-month lay-off last year to recover from injury.
The 35-year-old looked as sprightly as any youngster as fended off his rivalÈs attacks, especially during the early part of the match when he saved a series of break points.
His more aggressive approach finally paid off when he broke the Spaniard for 5-3 and then served out to pocket the opening set.
With FedererÈs serve holding strong, he applied continual pressure off both wings to keep Nadal on the back foot. He broke again for only the second time in the match which proved sufficient for him to end the tournament as champion as well as recording his 19th victory of the season to just one loss.
What a start to the year. I canÈt believe it. For me the dream continues, said Federer.
Nadal observed ruefully: Every three years I am here in this position but always with the smaller trophy. Hopefully I will not have to wait three more years to be in that position fighting again for a title.
I have to say congratulations to Roger. Amazing start of the season, one of the best comebacks on the tour ever after a long injury.
Reflecting on the match, Federer added: It was a very intense first set. It could have gone either way really and then the second set started slow from both sides. Eventually I got a few important (points) and played the right way like I have so many times this year.
Having won the Australian Open, the Indian Wells Masters and now the Miami Masters, Federer said he would be skipping some of the clay court tournaments including the Masters at Monte Carlo, Madrid and Rome.
"I’m not 24 anymore so things have changed in a big way and I probably won’t play any clay court event except the French. That is what it is going to look like, I need rest, my body needs healing, I need time as well to prepare, you will probably see me at the French again," he said pointing out that he enjoys playing when he is fit and healthy.
Because when I am healthy and feeling good, I can produce tennis like this, when I am not feeling this good there is no chance I will be in the finals competing with Rafa, he admitted.
"That is why this break coming now in the clay court season and focusing everything now on the French, the grass and then the hard courts after that is going to be the key for me," he added.
He also confirmed that his goal for now is to win Wimbledon. "For me basically the second half of the season is the big priority which is why I am taking this break now."