Roger Federer continues to own 2017 with another win over Rafael Nadal

Nadal was working hard in the 28C afternoon heat, thrusting himself into his shots while the elegant Federer's poise appeared nearly casual. While Nadal was his usual strong self in returning Federer's second serve, he had no answer to his opponent's first serve as they Swiss won 87 percent of those points.

For over the last two years, their rivalry had cranked up nicely: seven meetings in 2015, five in 2016, all finals apart from three semis, and all at Majors and Masters.

Quite frankly, nobody did, even after cruising past Berdych - who had beaten Federer in two Grand Slams and at the 2004 Olympics - in a vintage performance.

In his prime Federer was the second best clay court player in the world behind Nadal. We have had some epic matches over the years which I didn't always enjoy, but mostly.

The Swiss ace took his record in 2017 to 19-1 by beating the Spaniard 6-3 6-4 in the final of the Miami Open, becoming the tournament's oldest men's champion. The tournament begins May 28.

"You are too good not to win this one, so all the best for the coming years, of course".

Again, as has so often been the case in their 13 years and 36 previous matches, there was plenty at stake.

For Nadal, it was a heartbreaking loss as he was fighting for the title for fifth time since 2005. Nadal owns 23 wins. Nadal was seeking his 29th Masters crown and 70th at the tour level.

On the other hand, the 30-year-old Nadal has now lost in the final of the Miami Open on five separate occasions.

"I do feel that I have improved. He's not won it yet before, and he's definitely feeling fresher than I feel right now".

The semifinal went to tiebreakers in all three sets, and lasted more than three hours. And all that after taking on Juan Martin del Potro in the third round. Will we see a repeat of that this year?

What used to be a weakness against Nadal, the backhand, is now a weapon.

Having opened the door, he powered his way through it with a confident service game to take the set 6-3. No longer is Rafa able to hit a heavy top spin forehand to the Federer back hand to set up a forehand victor. Federer broke Nadal's serve in the seventh game of the first set and consolidated the break to make it 5-3. He defeated Zverev in the third round in Miami 6-3, 6-4.

Both men were drenched in sweat and left court to change.

Nadal held to fifteen to start the second set, his first service game without facing a break point since his first service game of the match. The Swiss didn't make it easy on himself as he tried to serve out the match, double-faulting on the opening point, but a tightly-angled forehand dropped in for a victor to bring up match point and Nadal sent a return long to surrender the title to Federer. Federer and Nadal amazed fans the world over with their parallel resurgence from injury. That brought up break point, and the now-grooved Swiss backhand did the damage: a break.

Indian tennis star Sania Mirza and her Czech partner Barbora Strycova were stunned by unseeded giantkillers Gabriela Dabrowski of Canada and Xu Yifan from China in the women's doubles summit clash of the Miami Open here.

- This is the third Sunshine Double that Federer has picked up.

"Roger, congratulations on one of the best comebacks ever after an injury, so well done, I'm happy for you", Nadal said.

  • Julie Sanders