In February, Roger Federer claimed the first ATP title of the 2012 season in the Rotterdam. Roger would win five more titles that year and became world no. 1, playing well and finishing the season ranked 2nd behind Novak Djokovic.
The Swiss was the most consistent player on the Tour while playing with a roof above his head, reaching the final in nine of the previous ten ATP indoor events and lifting seven trophies during that stint ahead of Rotterdam 2013.
Seeking the title defense, Roger experienced a convincing 6-3, 7-5 defeat to Julien Benneteau in the quarter-final in an hour and 21 minutes. Thus, Federer suffered the earliest indoor loss since Paris 2009, when he lost to Benneteau in the second round.
Julien played better on the second serve, fended off three out of five break chances and took almost half of the return points to secure five breaks and hand Federer's 200th ATP loss! Roger struggled to find the rhythm in his games, spraying too many errors and winning only ten out of 30 points on the second serve to finish empty-handed.
Benneteau landed a backhand down the line winner in the first game to grab an early break and gain confidence and landed two winners at 30-30 in the second game to cement the advantage. The defending champion pulled the break back in the fourth game following the Frenchman's double fault.
Instead of building on that, Roger sprayed a forehand error at 3-3 for another poor service game. He sent the rival in front and allowed Julien to move 5-3 up thanks to another careless forehand.
Roger Federer lost to Julien Benneteau in straight sets in Rotterdam 2012.
Benneteau's backhand worked like a charm, and it helped him deliver another break at 5-3 and secure the opening set in style.
Serving at 1-2 in the second set, Roger found himself a set and break down following another error, with Julien confirming the lead with two winners in the fifth game. With no room for mistakes, Roger clinched eight straight points to get back into contention, earning a break at love in game seven and holding at 30 to lock the result at 4-4.
Julien got back on track with a hold at love in game nine before facing two break chances at 5-5. He erased those with some powerful striking, erased the third break point with a service winner and held with another to move 6-5 in front.
Serving to stay in the match, Roger sprayed a backhand error to give the victory to Julien, who was the better player on that day and avenged a terrible loss to the Swiss at Wimbledon a year earlier.