Ageless Roger Federer became tennis’ first repeat champion of 2019 when he won his 101st career title Sunday by beating defending champion John Isner in the Miami Open final, 6-1, 6-4.
Federer neutralized Isner’s big serve and won 32 of 35 points on his own serve. The 6-foot-10 Isner scrambled so desperately to stay in rallies that he hurt his left foot and limped badly through the final few points.
Federer was the Dubai champion on March 2, and was runner-up at Indian Wells two weeks ago. He’s 18-2 this year, which stamps him as a serious threat in Grand Slams later this year, even at age 37.
The first 33 men’s and women’s titles this year were won by 33 different players, including Ashleigh Barty in the Miami Open women’s final Saturday.
Federer first played at Miami as a wild card 20 years ago. He won the tournament in 2005, 2006 and 2017 before it moved to its new home this year in the Miami Dolphins’ complex.
“Champion, Roger!” a fan yelled during a lull, prompting cheers. Federer went on to earn the adjective yet again.
Isner swatted 98 aces in his first five tournament matches, but against Federer he managed only nine, fewer than the 5-foot-5 Barty had in her final. Baseline rallies were a mismatch, with Federer keeping his lumbering opponent on the move until Isner would hit an errant shot.
Isner first appeared to be bothered by his foot in the seventh game of the second set. He twice called a medical timeout and hobbled through the final game, losing serve and then limping to the net to congratulate Federer.