Miami Flashback: Roger Federer scores first win over world no. 1. Who is his rival?
by JOVICA ILIC | VIEW 2638
Roger Federer reached his first Masters 1000 final in Miami 2002, heading into the title clash following his first triumph over world no. 1. Roger defeated Lleyton Hewitt in the semi-final to achieve a notable victory and remain on the title course.
After reaching back-to-back Major quarter-finals at Roland Garros and Wimbledon, Roger Federer had to slow down in the second part of 2001 due to a groin injury. The Swiss kicked off the next season with the Sydney title, failing to defend the Milan crown and losing ground a bit in Rotterdam, Dubai and Indian Wells.
Everything looked much better for the young gun in Miami, playing well and moving into his first Masters 1000 final. Federer faced world no. 1 and another super-talented youngster Lleyton Hewitt in the semi-final and beat the Aussie 6-3, 6-4 in an hour and 29 minutes for the second victory in six encounters.
Roger stormed over Andrei Pavel in the previous round. He was ready to produce more of the same against the better-ranked rival, dropping 15 points in ten service games. The Swiss repelled all three break chances and kept the pressure on the other side.
Lleyton could not follow that pace, playing against nine break points and losing serve once in each set to finish his run and propel Roger through. The Swiss had the upper hand in the shortest and mid-range exchanges, hitting more winners than Hewitt to forge the difference and earn the victory.
Roger Federer beat world no. 1 Lleyton Hewitt to reach the 2002 Miami final.
Roger kicked off the action with an ace in the encounter's opening game and produced a break in the next one after Lleyton's backhand mistake. Federer survived two break chances in the third game to confirm the break and held at love with a service winner the next time he served to open a 4-1 advantage.
Dominating with his initial shot, Roger closed the opener with a service winner in game nine, moving 6-3 in front after 37 minutes and taking a big step en route to the final. Ready to fight stronger, Hewitt held at 15 in the second set's first game and created a break chance a few minutes later.
Federer denied it with a smash winner and brought the game home with a forehand crosscourt winner to avoid an early setback. Stealing momentum, Federer grabbed a break in the third game after forcing Hewitt's error and landed four winners in the next one to move 6-3, 3-1 in front.
Flying over the court, Roger fired four winners in the sixth game to maintain the lead and pushed strong on the return in the next one. He squandered three break chances before creating more opportunities at 5-3. Giving his best, Lleyton saved two match points to prolong the encounter before Roger sealed the deal on his serve at 5-4 to sail into the title match, his first at the Masters 1000 level at 20.