MIAMI: 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 number seven’s huge serve could be the difference at Hard Rock Stadium, just as it was in a dramatic five-set, last eight encounters 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 centre 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 the 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 number five 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 play 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 number one’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 server 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.