Roger Federer arrived in Houston for the 2003 ATP Master Cup wanting to raise his level from recent tournaments. After winning the Vienna title, Roger did not play well in Madrid despite reaching the semi-final. He suffered early losses in Basel and Paris and wanted to fix that in the last event of the season.
Federer took on local favorite Andre Agassi in the first meeting, and struggled to outclass the veteran 6-7 6-3 7-6. After the first set, Roger settled into a good rhythm and went on to lead 5-3 in the decider. Andre bounced back with a late break to lengthen the clash, reaching the tie break and earning two match points.
Federer kept his cool to repel them and seal the break 9-7 to earn the first win over the American. Playing another opponent he had never beaten before, Federer displayed world-class tennis to defeat David Nalbandian 6-3 6-0.
The Swiss did everything right on court, controlling the pace on serve and return to defeat the Argentine for the first time in six meetings. In the last round of 16 duel, Roger ousted world number 2 Juan Carlos Ferrero 6-3 6-1 to reach the semi-finals in style and avenge Madrid's loss.
Federer saved all three break points and delivered four breaks of serve to take the lead. The Swiss had 23 winners and 12 unforced errors, dominating his strokes and dominating the Spaniard in more advanced exchanges. Roger started strong, securing a break at the 15th in the second game and overcoming a minor scare in the third to carve out a 3-0 lead.
Both served well at the end of the set, and Federer claimed it 6-3, setting up another attack in the second. There, he got a break in the third game after a double fault from Juan Carlos and securing another one at 3-1.
Federer made history
During the interview, Roger Federer was asked if he knew how to cook, to which he answered in the negative.
"No, unfortunately not really," Federer said. "However, I was very lucky with my mother and later with Mirka, both of whom cook very finely. I also enjoyed being spoiled in hotels and restaurants." That said, Roger Federer asserted that he is keen to learn the art of cooking.
"What is not, can still be, and I'm learning to cook. I have met many wonderful, nice chefs over the years and I would like to understand their art better," he said. "Sometimes I'm sorry for all the trouble they put into the preparation, then it just sucks and it's gone."