On this day: Roger Federer loses Brisbane final to Lleyton Hewitt

by   |  VIEW 4849

On this day: Roger Federer loses Brisbane final to Lleyton Hewitt

After six ATP titles behind his name in 2012, Roger Federer stood on 76 trophies in total, just one short of John McEnroe, the third most successful player in the Open era. Instead of passing the American, Roger could only tie his record in 2013, lifting one title in Halle for the worst year since 2001 and dropping out from the top-5.

Roger kicked off the 2014 season in Brisbane, making a debut at Pat Rafter Arena and advancing into the 114th ATP final following commanding triumphs over Jarkko Nieminen, Marinko Matosevic and Jeremy Chardy. The home favorite Lleyton Hewitt stood between Roger and the trophy, chasing the first ATP title since 2010 and the 29th overall.

It was their 27th and last ATP encounter, 15 years after their first Tour clash in Lyon while still teenagers. Until 2003, the Aussie had a clear 7-2 advantage over the Swiss, who turned the tables between the Australian Open 2004-10 and toppled Lleyton 15 times in a row!

Still, Hewitt would win two of their last three encounters, defeating Roger 6-1, 4-6, 6-3 in two hours and seven minutes to lift the Brisbane trophy and shine at home just before the 33rd birthday. Unforced errors dotted the match between two great rivals, and Roger could not find his shots, spraying over 40 mistakes and trailing in the forced errors department to finish on the losing side despite hitting more winners than Lleyton.

The Aussie had the advantage in the shortest rallies, where the Swiss should have had the upper hand, and toppled the Swiss in the most extended exchanges to bring the encounter home and start a title celebration.

Lleyton Hewitt defeated Roger Federer in three sets in Brisbane 2014.

Hewitt landed only 50% of the first serve in and had to work hard in his games, fending off nine out of ten break chances and mounting the pressure on Federer.

Roger could not endure it, firing 13 aces but struggling to produce more efficient numbers on the first serve and getting broken four times from 11 chances offered to Lleyton. The Swiss sprayed a forehand error and suffered a break in the first game before spraying another forehand mistake in game five to push Lleyton 4-1 up.

Serving to stay in the set, Federer got broken for the third time following yet another loose forehand in game seven, handing the set to Lleyton 6-1 in just 27 minutes in front of Rod Laver. Serving at 3-4 in set number two, Roger fended off a break chance with a smash winner, closed the game with two aces and scored his first and only break in the next one after Lleyon wasted a 40-0 advantage!

With momentum on his side, Federer landed four winners in the tenth game to take it 6-4, hoping for more of the same in the decider. Hewitt had to dig deep in the final set's first game, fending off four break chances and making a critical hold that kept him in the match.

Roger squandered more opportunities in the third game and paid the price in the next one when his forehand landed long, getting broken to send the Aussie 3-1 in front. In the seventh game, Lleyton repelled more break chances and sealed the deal with a comfortable hold at 5-3 to receive a standing ovation from packed Pat Rafter Arena for his first ATP crown on the home soil since Sydney 2005.