Roger Federer was a happy camper at the end of 2003, finishing the season as a Major champion and world no. 2 behind Andy Roddick. Heading to the ATP Masters Cup in Houston, Roger raised his level in comparison to Basel and Paris.
The Swiss scored five top-10 triumphs and lifted the second notable title of the season after Wimbledon. In the round-robin encounters, the Swiss took down Andre Agassi after saving two match points and scored more comfortable triumphs over David Nalbandian and Juan Carlos Ferrero.
In the semis, Roger defeated Andy Roddick 7-6, 6-2 to advance into the title match, facing Andre Agassi for the second time that week. Delivering rock-solid tennis, Federer claimed a 6-3, 6-0, 6-4 victory for his third notable career title.
Roger served at 51%, dropping 17 points in 12 service games and never experiencing troubles behind the initial shot. Andre was outplayed in almost every segment, losing 46% of the points on serve and never finding a proper answer for the well-balanced tennis produced by the Swiss.
The American often served at Roger's backhand, and the youngster was well-prepared for that pattern, allowing Andre to his just 13 service winners and getting a chance to impose his shots after a deep return. The home favorite made too many errors, failing to open the court and place some comfortable winners that he required against such a strong rival.
Federer moved around the court with incredible efficiency. He hit almost every ball in full swing and defended his backhand with slices and slower shots that took the pace away from Agassi. Federer hit nine winners from his backhand, an excellent addition to many direct points from the forehand side, using every opportunity to chase the lines and overpower his rival.
Andre's backhand was all over the place, and it could not give him the upper hand in the crosscourt exchanges, finishing the encounter with just two winners from that wing. In the third set, Agassi started to play better, but it was not enough to stay in touch, getting broken five times to propel Federer over the finish line.
Roger Federer conquered the 2003 Masters Cup over Andre Agassi.
Roger had 25 service winners in comparison to Andre's 13, dismantling the opponent in the winners from the field where he forged a 26-11 advantage. His forehand provided 15 winners and drew many of Andre's errors, firing almost as many winners from his backhand as the American.
Agassi sprayed 19 unforced mistakes while Roger stayed on 12. Only four of those came from his backhand, which illustrates how well he played on that day. The Swiss finished the clash with more forced errors, 16 to 13, but that could not impact the overall scoreboard.
They concluded 66% of the points in the shortest range up to four strokes, and Roger had a clear 60-36 advantage thanks to a fantastic display on serve and the first groundstroke. He overpowered Andre in the mid-range exchanges and won 20 out of 32, leaving the American with a slight advantage in the most extended rallies, where he had a 9-7 lead.
"I played great from start to finish. I felt much better today than on Monday when we played for the first time, as I got used to the conditions. My forehand worked well, alongside my first and second serve, backhand, pretty much everything.
It was one of the best matches of the season and my career. Wimbledon had taken a lot of pressure out of my back. I started to feel that I should do better at Majors, and the Wimbledon title was a massive relief. It's great to end the season like this," Roger Federer said.