Roger Federer's perfect match did not come against Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic


Roger Federer's perfect match did not come against Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic

Roger Federer scored 1251 ATP victories throughout his incredible career. Many came on the most notable tennis scene against the most significant opponents. Still, there's only one triumph that Roger considers perfect. It did not come against Rafael Nadal or Novak Djokovic but Lleyton Hewitt in the 2004 US Open final!

Roger prevailed in the quarter-final over Andre Agassi and dominated the next two matches to become the first player since Mats Wilander in 1988 with three Majors in a single season! On September 12, Federer defeated former champion Lleyton Hewitt 6-0, 7-6, 6-0 in an hour and 49 minutes in one of the strangest scorelines in the Major finals ever!

A player lost the US Open final after suffering two bagels for the first time since 1884, with Federer as the only competitor in sets one and three. Thus, Federer became the first player to win the first four Major finals. Lleyton had an 8-5 advantage in their meetings before this encounter.

Still, Roger already had the upper hand over former world no. 1, scoring the last three wins before another excellent performance in New York. Hewitt was in good form, losing the Cincinnati final to Agassi and winning 16 straight matches (23 completed sets) before the final clash with Roger.

The Aussie defeated all six rivals in New York in straight sets after a favorable draw, and no one could have predicted he would lose the final so quickly. Both players struggled to find the first serve (55%), and Roger drew the most from his initial shot.

He grabbed 78% of the points on his first serve and repelled five out of six break points to keep the pressure on the other side. A champion from 2001 and one of the most consistent players at the US Open in the last couple of seasons struggled to find any rhythm in his service games.

He faced 13 break chances in 12 different games and got broken seven times. Federer had 23 service winners and an additional 18 from his forehand.

Roger Federer scored his perfect victory in the 2004 US Open final.

On the other hand, Hewitt's groundstrokes stayed in the locker room, unable to move Federer from his comfort zone or take advantage in the rallies.

Roger had a clear lead in the shortest points up to four strokes and was in front in the mid-range and the most extended exchanges to dominate from start to finish. The first set was over in just 18 minutes, and it was one-way traffic all the time.

Federer took a mind-blowing 24 out of 29 points, including the last 12. Thus, he served the fourth bagel to Lleyton that season after the Australian Open, Hamburg, and Wimbledon! Roger had a 6-0 2-0 lead after some 30 minutes, and this was the most impressive start in the Major finals in the Open era.

The Swiss could not keep the same pace in the rest of the set, though, making 20 errors and saving a break chance in game six after firing three aces in a row. Hewitt stayed in touch when he fended off three break points in game seven.

He broke back in game ten when Roger served for the set after saving three set points. The Aussie converted his fourth opportunity, and this game alone lasted just five minutes shorter than the entire first set! Federer stayed focused and won the tie break 7-3, bringing the set home in 68 minutes and gathering momentum ahead of the third set.

It was all about Roger there. He clinched it 6-0 after 25 minutes and sealed the deal with a forehand winner to lift his fourth Major crown, the first out of five consecutive in New York.

Roger Federer Rafael Nadal Novak Djokovic