Miami Flashback: Roger Federer meets Andre Agassi in the final. Who wins?
by JOVICA ILIC | VIEW 5322
Roger Federer advanced into his first Masters 1000 final in Miami 2002, facing the defending champion Andre Agassi. The American toppled the young Swiss Roger Federer 6-3, 6-3, 3-6, 6-4 in two hours and 21 minutes, lifting his fifth Miami Open title and giving the crowd something to cheer about.
Seeded 9th and 12th, Andre and Roger showed the most during those two weeks in sunny Florida. Agassi lost a set against former champion Marcelo Rios in the semi-final before the Chilean retired after the second set. It was the eighth ATP final for the upcoming youngster, the second on outdoor courts.
Roger scored his first win over the no. 1 player in the semi-final after dismissing Lleyton Hewitt, hoping for more against Andre! Federer constantly improved his game and found his best tennis in Miami after just four wins in Rotterdam, Dubai and Indian Wells.
He pushed Agassi to the limits and claimed only one point less than the more experienced rival. As was expected, an explosive teenager had almost twice as many winners as Andre and more unforced and forced errors. Roger did his best to control the rallies' pace and match the rival's numbers in the longer baseline rallies, still falling short in the end.
Interestingly, Agassi had the upper hand in the fastest exchanges. It gave him the triumph after digging deep against the young opponent who used every shot in the arsenal to stay on the positive side and chase the first notable title.
Andre Agassi defeated Roger Federer in four sets in the 2002 Miami final.
There were 20 break chances up for grabs. Agassi fended off four out of seven and stole Roger's serve six times from 13 opportunities to cross the finish line first and defend the crown.
Federer held at love in the encounter's opening game, which was extremely important. The young gun broke Andre in the second game with a forehand down the line winner for the best start and an early advantage. Agassi bounced back in game three, winning four straight points to steal the rival's serve and avoid chasing the result.
Federer netted a forehand right after the serve in the seventh game to push Agassi 4-3 up and find himself behind. The American cemented the lead after deuce before delivering the second break with a backhand down the line winner in game nine to claim the set 6-3 in 35 minutes.
After five good holds on both sides in the second set, Andre gained the lead with a break at 30 following Roger's loose backhand. The home favorite increased the advantage with a service winner in the seventh game and clinching the set thanks to a good hold at 5-3.
Rod Laver watched the title match and witnessed two break chances for the youngster in the third set's second game. Agassi denied them before losing serve in the fourth game after a forced error to drop serve and fall 3-1 behind.
A hold at love cemented the break for the Swiss, and he blasted four winners in the ninth game for 6-3, reducing the deficit and extending the clash for at least one more set. Things looked better and better for the 20-year-old after earning a break in the fourth set's third game thanks to Agassi's forehand error.
With a boost on his side, Roger closed the next game with a service winner and made another good hold for 4-2. Federer squandered a game point at 4-3 to suffer a break in what could have been the encounter's pivotal game. He drew Andre back to 4-4 and lost the momentum he had throughout the set.
The American held at love with an ace in game nine and broke Roger for the second time in a row a few minutes later at 5-4 to cross the finish line. Thus, he rattled off the last four games to seal the deal and lift his fifth Miami Open crown.