Indian Wells Flashback: Roger Federer defends title over Lleyton Hewitt



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Indian Wells Flashback: Roger Federer defends title over Lleyton Hewitt

Roger Federer became world no. 1 in 2004, winning three Majors and moving miles away from all the rivals. A year later, Rafael Nadal was there to challenge him, with both players conquering 11 ATP titles for complete domination over the rest of the field.

The Swiss could not defend the Australian Open crown in January. Still, he claimed the third straight Dubai trophy a few weeks later, gathering momentum ahead of Indian Wells. The Swiss followed the winning path from 2004 to lift the fifth Masters 1000 title.

Federer and Lleyton Hewitt were the top seeds in the desert that year, and they both played on a high level to set the final clash. Federer beat Guillermo Canas in the semis, and Hewitt prevailed against Andy Roddick in three tie breaks to arrange the 16th meeting against the Swiss.

Losing seven of the first nine encounters against the Aussie, Roger finally found the winning formula for Lleyton. The Swiss beat the Aussie six times in 2004 and delivered the seventh consecutive victory in Indian Wells to lift the trophy.

Roger needed an hour and 54 minutes to notch a 6-2, 6-4, 6-4 win, fending off six out of seven break chances and stealing the opponent's serve five times from 15 opportunities to seal the deal in straight sets. Federer fired over 40 winners and sprayed around 30 unforced errors, controlling the rallies' pace and reducing Hewitt to 15 winners and 30 unforced errors to stay in front all the time.

Roger had a clear advantage in the shortest range up to four strokes, dominating with the initial shot and first groundstroke to impose his tactic and stay aggressive from start to finish. World no. 1 made the best start and secured a break in the first game when Hewitt sprayed a forehand mistake.

Federer fended off a break chance in game two with a service winner to open a 2-0 gap thanks to a forehand winner.

Roger Federer toppled Lleyton Hewitt to win the 2005 Indian Wells title.

Roger landed two winners at 30-30 in the sixth game to remain in front, clinched another break to move 5-2 ahead and closed the opener with four winners in game eight for 6-2 in 28 minutes.

Hewitt claimed one of the best points in Indian Wells history to repel a break chance in the second set's third game and stayed in touch until 3-3. Federer grabbed a break following his opponent's backhand error to move in front and cemented the advantage with an ace.

Roger landed three winners at 5-4 to forge two sets to love lead and take a big step towards the finish line. With nothing working his way, Lleyton lost serve in the third set's first game and fought back from 40-0 down at 0-2 to avoid an even more significant deficit.

Roger pushed strong and grabbed a break with a forehand down the line winner in game five to open a 4-1 gap. The Aussie pulled one break back after a careless forehand from the Swiss, who faced another break point at 4-3. Roger saved it with an ace and wrapped up the game to remain ahead.

Serving for the title, Federer blasted three powerful serves in the tenth game to seal the deal and defend the crown, repeating what Hewitt did in 2002 and 2003.