On this day: Andre Agassi tops Roger Federer for fifth Miami crown


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On this day: Andre Agassi tops Roger Federer for fifth Miami crown

Twelve months after he defeated Jan-Michael Gambill in the final of Miami, Andre Agassi was back in the title match in Florida on March 31, 2002, toppling the young Swiss Roger Federer 6-3, 6-3, 3-6, 6-4 in two hours and 21 minutes to lift the fifth Miami Open crown.

Seeded 9th and 12th, Andre and Roger showed the most during those two weeks and Agassi lost a set against Marcelo Rios in the semis before the Chilean retired after the second set to push the American into the title match.

This was the eighth ATP final for the upcoming youngster, the second on outdoor courts, scoring his first win over the no. 1 player in the semis when he dismissed Lleyton Hewitt and trying to become the youngest Miami Masters 1000 champion and pass Agassi from 1990!

Four years earlier, Agassi ousted Roger in Basel 1998 when the Swiss made the debut in front of the home fans and the American scored a win at the US Open the last summer despite a solid effort from Roger in the third set.

Improving his game regularly, the youngster found his best tennis in Miami after just four wins in Rotterdam, Dubai and Indian Wells, pushing Agassi to the limits and winning only one point less than the more experienced rival.

As was expected, an explosive teenager had almost twice as many winners than Andre but also more errors, both unforced and forced, giving his best to control the pace of the rallies and managing the rival's numbers in the longer baseline rallies.

Interestingly, Agassi had the upper hand in the shortest points and that gave him the triumph in the end, having to dig deep against an inspired opponent who had used every shot in the arsenal to stay on the positive side of the scoreboard and chase the first big title of his young career.

There were 20 break points up for grabs and Agassi fended off four out of seven, breaking Roger six times from 13 opportunities to cross the finish line first and stay on the winning course in Miami for the second straight year.

Roger held at love in the opening game of the match, which was extremely important for him, breaking Andre in the second game with a forehand down the line winner for the best possible start. Agassi bounced back in game three, though, winning four points in a row to steal the rival's serve and get to the positive side of the scoreboard.

Federer netted a forehand right after serving in the seventh game to push Agassi 4-3 up, with the American cementing the break after deuce before sealing the deal with a backhand down the line winner in game nine for the second break and a 6-3 after 35 minutes.

After five good holds in the second set, Andre gained the lead with a break at 30 following a loose backhand from Roger, increasing the advantage with a service winner in the seventh game and clinching the set thanks to a good hold at 5-3, moving a set away from the title some 70 minutes after the beginning of the encounter.

Rod Laver was there to watch the title match and could have witnessed two break points for the youngster in the second game, denied by Agassi who finally got broken in the fourth game after a forced error to send Roger 3-1 in front.

Hold at love cemented the break for the Swiss who blasted four winners in the ninth game for a 6-3, reducing the deficit and extending the match for at least one more set. Things looked better and better for a teenager who earned a break in the third game of the fourth set when Agassi netted an easy forehand, closing the following game with a service winner and making another good hold for a 4-2.

In what could have been the pivotal game of the match, Federer squandered a game point at 4-3 to suffer a break, drawing Andre back to 4-4 and losing the momentum he had throughout the set. The American held at love with an ace in game nine and he broke Roger for the second time in a row a few minutes later to cross the finish line, rattling off the last four games of the match to seal the deal and lift the fifth Miami Open crown.