Roger Federer won a battle of the ages, beating 19-year-old Canadian Denis Shapovalov 6-2 6-4 in the semifinals of the Miami Open.
Federer, a three-time tournament champion, will face defending champion John Isner on Sunday.
The age gap with Shapovalov was the largest of 37-year-old Federer’s career, and experience triumphed. Federer used a wide array of shot-making to take control with two early breaks, and he lost only eight points on his serve.
“It was a tactical match by me,” Federer said. “I’m happy I was able to play with variations.”
Shapovalov will climb to a career-best No. 20 in the rankings.
“Denis is a great player and he will be even better in the future,” Federer said.
Federer, seeded fourth, improved to 17-2 this year. He lost in this month’s Indian Wells final to Dominic Thiem.
Like Federer, Isner advanced by beating a Canadian teenager – 18-year-old qualifier Felix Auger-Aliassime, 7-6(3), 7-6(4).
Federer is 5-2 against Isner, but they haven’t played each other since 2015.
???? FEDERER IS FINAL BOUND ????
— Tennis TV (@TennisTV) March 30, 2019
Isner, now 33, won his only ATP Masters title a year ago on Key Biscayne.
“It’s amazing – I said before the tournament the chances were I would not defend my title,” Isner said.
“I’m very, very happy.”
The 6-foot-10 American hit 21 aces in the semifinal and has 98 in five tournament matches. Federer laughingly said he’ll brace for a barrage.
“I know what to expect – that he will not miss many serves,” Federer said. “On Sunday I’ll be the goalie and try my very best.”
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