Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer smile during a Rally for Relief tennis match to raise money for victims of Australia's flood disaster ahead of the Australian Open. File Photo: Reuters
Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer smile during a Rally for Relief tennis match to raise money for victims of Australia's flood disaster ahead of the Australian Open. File Photo: Reuters
Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer pose after warming up at the West Bay during an exhibition match to promote the city of Doha. File Photo: Reuters
Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer pose after warming up at the West Bay during an exhibition match to promote the city of Doha. File Photo: Reuters
Fans hold up signs during a match between Rafael Nadal and Nicolas Mahout  at the Miami Open tennis tournament. Photo: Lynne Sladky/AP
Fans hold up signs during a match between Rafael Nadal and Nicolas Mahout at the Miami Open tennis tournament. Photo: Lynne Sladky/AP
Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, and Rod Laver pose for photographers. Photo: Aaron Favila/AP
Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, and Rod Laver pose for photographers. Photo: Aaron Favila/AP
Photo: Reuters
Photo: Reuters

Twelve years after they first met in the final of the Miami Open, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal will reunite today to contest the title on the island outpost of Key Biscayne.

It is the latest flashback in what it is turning out, so far, to be a season that harks back to an era everyone thought was confined to the realms of happy nostalgia.

The men’s final, a repeat of the brilliant Australian Open climax in January - which Federer won in five sets - was set up on Friday night by a contest that is an early competitor against it for match of the season.

While Nadal had an easy progression, Federer was forced to produce some of his finest tennis to see off the thrilling challenge of Nick Kyrgios, who was edged out by the Swiss 7-6, 6-7, 7-6 in more than three hours.

‘Maybe it’s not a bad thing that it’s not best-of-five sets any more in the finals,’ conceded Federer, although he can give it everything as he will play only sparingly in the coming European clay court season. ‘Knowing that I won’t play for a while, it’s easy now to just compress all the energy you have and give it one last push,’ he said.

Nadal has also had an excellent start to the year and it would be a surprise if, in these relatively heavy conditions, he does not win what would be his first Miami title.

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