After notable results on hard courts in the opening months of the 2003 season, Roger Federer decided to skip Monte Carlo and prepare better for the clay-court swing. The Swiss kicked off the action on dirt with the ATP 250 title in Munich in dominant style.
Roger lost serve five times in ten sets and defeated five rivals in under five hours for his seventh ATP title at 21 and a boost ahead of the Masters 1000 tournament in Rome. The Swiss made a rock-solid start in the Italian capital, beating Paul-Henri Mathieu and Mariano Zabaleta to set the clash against world no.
19 Tommy Robredo. The Spaniard should have been a much more challenging obstacle to pass. However, Roger was on a roll in those two weeks, toppling the clay specialist 6-1, 6-1 in swift 49 minutes to advance into the quarter-final for the first time at Foro Italico.
Dominating from start to finish, Roger lost nine points in seven service games, never facing a break point and mounting the pressure on the other side. Robredo could not deal with it, giving away almost 60% of the points in his games and suffering five breaks from six chances offered to the Swiss.
Federer was pleased with his performance in the last couple of tournaments, not losing a set and hoping to fight for the title.
Roger Federer scored a dominant win over Tommy Robredo in Rome 2003.
"No one could expect this; it's not easy to beat Robredo 6-1, 6-1 on clay, and I'm very pleased with the way I played.
Everything worked as I wanted right from the beginning, feeling good on the return and keeping the points as short as possible. I had a perfect game plan, and I stuck to it as I had to change nothing. It's not easy to tell if this would be enough to secure the title for me; I think it could, but that's just my feeling.
All of us who have reached the quarter-final will have a chance, and I'm in contention because I have been playing on a high level. Still, I do not think about that at the moment, just going match by match. I will be the favorite in the next one and hope it will go my way.
I'm very confident at the moment. After Miami, I have not lost a set at the Davis Cup, Munich and now in Rome. I'm surprised with so many easy wins; that's a strange feeling," Roger Federer said.