On this day: Roger Federer tops Andy Roddick for first Canada Masters title


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On this day: Roger Federer tops Andy Roddick for first Canada Masters title

Pumped and motivated after the first Grand Slam crown in 2003, Roger Federer embraced the first dominant season a year later, winning 74 out of 80 matches in 2004 and conquering the ATP throne after the Australian Open. Roger claimed 11 titles, becoming the first player since Mats Wilander in 1988 with three Majors and adding three Masters 1000 crowns as well to stand in the league of his own and forge the domination that would last until 2008.

Tim Henman, Rafael Nadal, Albert Costa and Gustavo Kuerten were the only players who had managed to defeat Roger before the summer and he was the player to beat on grass and hard that summer, conquering Halle, Wimbledon and Gstaad before heading to Toronto for the start of the North American hard-court swing.

Federer was the favorite at Canada Masters, losing serve thrice in six matches and ousting world no. 2 Andy Roddick 7-5, 6-3 in the title match for the fourth Masters 1000 crown and the 23rd straight win! It was already the eighth clash between these two and the seventh win for Roger who celebrated in the final of Wimbledon a few weeks earlier as well.

The encounter lasted for an hour and 25 minutes and the Swiss repelled all four break points to mount the pressure on Roddick who couldn't deal with it, missing the opportunity to do more damage with his forehand wing and not doing enough with his serve either to stay in touch with world's leading player.

The American had an enormous chance to conquer the opening set, earning three break points in the ninth game before Roger saved them all in style with three aces. They both raised the level in set number two and it was the Swiss who crossed the finish line with a single break at 4-3 for his maiden title in Canada.

The second serve was one of the crucial elements of the match, with Federer taking 19 out of 27 points to save every break point he faced, stealing almost 40% of the return points to earn nine break chances and convert one in each set to seal the deal in less than 90 minutes.

The other segment that ruined Andy's chances for a better result was his forehand, spraying 16 unforced errors from that wing and many of those in the pivotal moments that could have turned the scoreboard into his favor or at least allowed him to stay on the court for a game or two more.

The third fundamental advantage on the Roger's side was reflected in the service winners department where Roddick failed to follow the rival's pace, especially in the second set when Federer returned all but three serves of his opponent to take the free points away from him, forcing the American to work hard for every point from the field.

Roger was 24-15 in front in unreturned serves, hitting 12 in each set while Roddick got reduced from 12 to three, not enough to keep him in contention. The Swiss had an almost identical number of winners from his forehand, backhand and volley, finishing with 19 direct points from the field that overpowered Andy's 17, seven from his volley.

Overall, Federer had 43 winners and Roddick counted on 32, having to tame his groundstrokes in the best possible way to overcome that deficit, something that never happened. Andy sprayed 25 unforced errors, 11 more than Roger, doing a fine job in the forced errors department where he had the advantage, hitting five and drawing Roger to 15.

All in all, the Swiss completed the encounter with 43 winners and 30 mistakes while the American had 32 winners and errors, not sufficient to earn a more favorable result. Roger won 15 of 26 most extended rallies while Andy had a slim edge in the mid-range exchanges from five to eight shots, 20-19.

Thanks to those service winners, Federer toppled Roddick 41-31 in the shortest exchanges up to four strokes, another element that added fuel to his triumph.