Roger Federer has brought ‘thunder and lightning’ to Miami to avoid a second-round defeat at the hands of a Miami Open qualifier for the second year running.
A year after he was stunned by Australian Thanasi Kokkinakis in his first match at the Florida tournament following a first-round bye, the Swiss great was forced to fight back against Radu Albot.
Federer won 4-6 7-5 6-4 in two hours and eight minutes to set up a meeting with Serbia’s Filip Krajinovic in the third round.
The world No.5 committed 41 unforced errors in the match but hit back with 38 winners.
“I definitely think Radu played a great match,” Federer said.
“Tt was really tough and I struggled early on. I am very relieved and happy to make it through. It was a great atmosphere.”
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.
He obliged, moving into the next round and a meeting with world No.103 Krajinovic.