Miami Open Masters 2019: John Isner Wins, Will Defend Title vs. Roger Federer

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistMarch 30, 2019

MIAMI GARDENS, FLORIDA - MARCH 29: John Isner of The United States celebrates during his match against Felix Auger-Aliassime of Canada in the semi final of the men's singles at the Miami Open at the Hard Rock Stadium on March 29, 2019 in Miami Gardens, Florida. (Photo by TPN/Getty Images)
TPN/Getty Images

The 2019 Miami Open men's singles semifinals took place Friday at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida.

Defending champion John Isner faced off with 18-year-old Canadian Felix Auger-Aliassime. Auger-Aliassime has been one of the biggest stories of the tournament, dispatching of 29th-seeded Marton Fucsovics, 17th-seeded Nikoloz Basilashvili and 11th-seeded Borna Coric en route to the semifinals.

In the other half of the draw, Roger Federer matched up with another Canadian, Denis Shapovalov. It's the first time Federer and Shapovalov opposed one another at an ATP Tour event.

Here are the scores from the men's semifinals and recaps of the two matches.


2019 Miami Open Results—March 29

Men's Singles

No. 7 John Isner def. Felix Auger-Aliassime, 7-6(3), 7-6(4)

No. 4 Roger Federer def. No. 20 Denis Shapovalov, 6-2, 6-4

Friday Recap

Auger-Aliassime's underdog run ended Friday as he dropped back-to-back tiebreakers in a straight-set defeat at the hands of Isner.

Auger-Aliassime earned the match's first service break in the opening set, which helped him build a 5-3 lead on Isner. Even after Isner held to make it 5-4, Auger-Aliassime had an opportunity to serve out the set. The heavy-hitting American broke back to tie the set at five and eventually set the stage for the tiebreaker.

Isner and Auger-Aliassime went back and forth through the first six points and were deadlocked at three. Then Isner reeled off four straight points to claim the set.

The second set played out much as the first did, with the teenager again letting Isner back in the set when he was a game away from securing it.

Auger-Aliassime never led in the tiebreak. He fell behind 3-1 and then 5-2. Isner secured the victory with his 21st ace of the match.

Tennis TV @TennisTV

Yet to drop a set 👏 9-0 in tiebreaks 😳 @JohnIsner d. Auger-Aliassime 7-6(3) 7-6(4) and is one match from going back-to-back at the #MiamiOpen https://t.co/Jqh5jBj23M

Isner hasn't dropped a set all tournament, with his big serve propelling him to the final. It may not be enough to get past Federer in the final after the Swiss rolled through Shapovalov.

Shapovalov provided a helping hand early on. He was a mess on serve and committed 20 unforced errors in the opening set.

As his opponent struggled, Federer's confidence grew. The 20-time Grand Slam winner broke Shapovalov twice and jumped out to a 5-1 lead.

Steve Layman @SteveLayman

Roger Federer 6-2 over Shapo in the first a night after blanking Anderson in the first. He’s playing 2017 Spring level well right now.

Shapovalov improved in the second set yet remained a class below Federer, who staved off two break-point chances in the second game and then forced a service break in the next game. That was the turning point, as the two players exchanged serve over the remainder of the match.

Tennis TV @TennisTV

🚨 FEDERER IS FINAL BOUND 🚨 🇨🇭 @rogerfederer d. Shapovalov 6-2 6-4 as he edges closer to #101 #MiamiOpen https://t.co/X3SlG2kU3u

Federer was dominant on serve, winning all but eight of his 45 service points. Shapovalov, on the other hand, committed five double-faults and found significant trouble when he had to turn to his second serve—winning only 31 percent of those points.

Isner and Federer are now headed for their first head-to-head meeting since the 2015 BNP Paribas Masters. Isner was victorious on that occasion, his second win in seven tries against Federer.


The full tournament draws (men's singles and women's singles) and order of play are available on the Miami Open's official site.