Roger Federer won the first title in Halle in 2003, celebrating his first trophy on grass and lifting the second at Wimbledon a few weeks later. The Swiss returned to Halle in 2004 as world no. 1 and the favorite. The defending champion played on a high level and dropped 26 games in five encounters.
Thus, Roger secured the 16th ATP title and sent a clear message to his rivals ahead of Wimbledon. Roger took down Thomas Johannson 6-3, 6-2 in 69 minutes in the opening round. He fended off six out of seven break chances and delivered four breaks for the best start.
The second match also lasted 69 minutes, and Federer took down Mikhail Youzhny 6-2, 6-1 for a place in the quarter-final. Roger lost 13 points in his games and seized five out of 14 break opportunities to control the scoreboard and enter the last eight.
The Swiss toppled Arnaud Clement 6-3, 7-5 in 72 minutes to remain on the title course. Roger was too good again, never facing a break point and stealing the Frenchman's serve once in each set to book a place in the last four.
Jiri Novak could not match Roger's pace on the fast grass court in the semis, with the Swiss storming over the Czech 6-3, 6-4 in 53 minutes with another flawless performance. On June 13, Roger delivered another masterclass against Mardy Fish in the title clash, leaving his coeval far behind in a 6-0, 6-3 victory.
The American left his booming serves in the locker room, landing only 55% of the first serve in and finishing the match with modest three aces.
Roger Federer took down Mardy Fish to claim the 2004 Halle crown.
Federer was all over Fish on the return, taking over half of those points to score four breaks from seven opportunities while giving away only nine points behind the initial shot.
As a result suggests, Roger was in front in every department, hitting more winners, forcing more errors and spraying fewer unforced mistakes than Mardy. He demolished the American in the mid-range and those rarely extended exchanges to finish a perfect day at the office in 57 minutes!
Federer held at love in the encounter's first game and instantly mounted the pressure on Fish. The Swiss converted the second break chance in game two to forge an early lead that gave him momentum. Unable to find the rhythm, Mardy sprayed a backhand error in game four to fall further behind.
The American took only two points on the return in the entire set and allowed Roger to deliver a bagel with another break in game six after a backhand winner. Fish finally started to play better in set number two, staying in touch until game six.
Roger moved ahead with a break at 3-2 and cemented the advantage with a hold at love that pushed him 5-2 up. Serving to stay in contention in game eight, the American held after three deuces to reduce the deficit and prolong his chances.
Federer sealed the deal after deuce at 5-3 thanks to a volley winner and became the first defending champion in Halle since Yevgeny Kafelnikov.
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