Miami – Roger Federer battled back from a set down to overcome 46th-ranked Radu Albot 4-6, 7-5, 6-3 on Saturday and reach the third round of the ATP and WTA Miami Open.
Moldova’s Albot superbly took hold of the match and posed plenty of problems for the 20-time Grand Slam winning legend, who took a while to get adjusted to the new surroundings at the Hard Rock Stadium.
But the Swiss star’s class and experience eventually shone through as he booked a round of 32 match with Serbian Filip Krajinovic who surprised three-time Grand Slam winner Stan Wawrinka 5-7, 6-2, 7-6 (7/5) earlier in the afternoon.
“I definitely think Radu played a great match, it was really tough and I struggled early on,” admitted Federer, a three time Miami Open champion.
“I am very relieved and happy to make it through. It was a great atmosphere.”
Moldovan Albot, 29, is enjoying a rich vein of form and arrived in Miami at a career high ranking.
He had never played the Swiss legend before but wasted little time in breaking Federer’s serve in the very first game before holding for 2-0.
He was anything but overawed by facing Federer and it was no surprise to see him wrap up the first set and leave the world number five with plenty of work to do.
Federer missed a break point opportunity at 4-3, Albot then crashing home a winner to heap the pressure back onto the 37-year-old before brilliantly sealing the first set.
The pro-Federer crowd were stunned, but the Swiss upped his game in the second, hitting 15 winners and five aces as well as saving a break point to keep carefree Albot at bay and take an entertaining tussle into a third set.
Federer managed to keep the pressure on and cracked the Moldovan who was serving at 3-4.
After a brilliant one handed backhand down the line from Federer clipped the line, Albot hit long once more and that gave Federer the break and opportunity to serve out for the match and move into the next round and a meeting with the 103rd-ranked Krajinovic.
Results on Saturday in the Miami Open WTA and ATP Masters hardcourt tournament (x-denotes seeded player):
Kevin Anderson (RSA x6) bt Jaume Munar (ESP) 6-4, 3-6, 6-3
Joao Sousa (POR) bt Steve Johnson (USA x31) 7-6 (8/6), 6-4
Grigor Dimitrov (BUL x24) bt Feliciano Lopez (ESP) 6-1, 6-3
Jordan Thompson (AUS) bt Karen Khachanov (RUS x10) 6-2, 6-3
Daniil Medvedev (RUS x13) bt Adrian Mannarino (FRA) 6-2, 6-1
Reilly Opelka (USA) bt Diego Schwartzman (ARG x21) 6-4, 3-6, 6-4
Filip Krajinovic (SRB) bt Stan Wawrinka (SUI x30) 5-7, 6-2, 7-6 (7/5)
Roger Federer (SUI x4) bt Radu Albot (MDA) 4-6, 7-5, 6-3
Stefanos Tsitsipas (GRE x8) bt Mackenzie McDonald (USA) 7-6 (7/4), 6-1
Leonardo Mayer (ARG) bt Guido Pella (ARG x26) 6-2, 6-4
Denis Shapovalov (CAN x20) bt Daniel Evans (GBR) 4-6, 6-1, 6-3
Andrey Rublev (RUS) bt Marin Cilic (CRO x9) 6-4, 6-4
Marco Cecchinato (ITA x14) bt Damir Dzumhur (BIH) walkover
David Goffin (BEL x18) bt Pablo Andujar (ESP) 6-4, 6-1
Frances Tiafoe (USA x28) bt Miomir Kecmanovic (SRB) 7-6 (8/6), 7-6 (7/5)
David Ferrer (ESP) bt Alexander Zverev (GER x2) 2-6, 7-5, 6-3
Hsieh Su-Wei (TPE x27) bt Naomi Osaka (JPN x1) 4-6, 7-6 (7/4), 6-3
Caroline Wozniacki (DEN x13) bt Monica Niculescu (ROU) 6-4, 7-6 (7/4)
Anett Kontaveit (EST x21) bt Ajla Tomljanovic (AUS) 7-6 (7/3), 2-6, 7-6 (7/4)
Petra Kvitova (CZE x3) bt Donna Vekic (CRO x26) 6-4, 3-6, 6-4
Caroline Garcia (FRA x19) bt Julia Goerges (GER x15) 6-0, 7-5
Ashleigh Barty (AUS x12) bt Samantha Stosur (AUS) 6-0, 6-3
Kiki Bertens (NED x7) bt Viktoria Kuzmova (SVK) 3-6, 6-0, 6-1