A Milanese Symphony: Roger Federer's First ATP Crown Anniversary

Roger Federer clinched his first ATP title in Milan 2001 at 19

by Jovica Ilic
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A Milanese Symphony: Roger Federer's First ATP Crown Anniversary
© Stream screenshot

Roger Federer claimed his first ATP title on February 4, 2001, in Milan, achieving a milestone at 19 and kicking off his incredible journey. The young Swiss wrapped up the 2000 season in the top-30, setting his eyes on much higher goals in the next one.

Federer added Pierre Paganini and Peter Lundgren to his team, and the results were there right from the start! Roger and Mirka claimed the Hopman Cup trophy for Switzerland, with more good results coming in February. Federer kicked off his Milan campaign against Rainer Schuettler, beating the German 6-3, 6-4 in 61 minutes.

The Swiss dropped ten points in his games, losing serve two times and taming the rival's serve beautifully en route to five breaks and a place in the second round. Federer made a slow start versus Cyril Saulnier before raising his level in a 2-6, 6-3, 6-4 triumph in an hour and 46 minutes, booking a place in the quarter-final.

Both players grabbed four breaks, and Roger used his opportunities in the pivotal moments, delivering an extra break in the decider and remaining on the title course. The upcoming Wimbledon champion Goran Ivanisevic was Federer's next rival, and the young Swiss scored a rock-solid 6-4, 6-4 triumph in swift 57 minutes.

Roger saved the only break point he faced and pressured Goran's second serve, breaking him once in each set from eight chances and sailing into the semi-final.

Roger Federer, Milan 2001© Stream screenshot

Federer's first top-10 victory of the season came against world no.

7 Yevgeny Kafelnikov, with a teenager prevailing 6-2, 6-7, 6-3 in an hour and 50 minutes. Thus, Roger notched his fifth top-10 win and reached his third ATP final. Federer defended five out of seven break points and grabbed five return games to control the pace in sets one and three.

Roger battled for his first ATP title against world no. 67 Julien Boutter and claimed a 6-4, 6-7, 6-4 victory in two hours and 20 minutes, lifting his first ATP trophy at 19. Boutter fought well in his first ATP final, breaking Federer five times and staying in touch.

However, the Frenchman dropped 43% of the points in his games, experiencing seven breaks and finishing runner-up.

Roger Federer clinched his first ATP title in Milan on February 4, 2001.

Roger closed the second game of the encounter with a smash winner and secured a break in the next one with a forehand winner.

However, the Swiss squandered game points at 2-1 and got broken after a forced volley mistake at the net, bringing his rival back to 2-2. Julien saved two break points in the fifth game and closed it with a service winner for a 3-2 lead.

Roger netted a routine forehand in the sixth game, losing serve for the second straight time and falling 4-2 behind. In one of the pivotal games, Boutter squandered game points that could have sent him 5-2 in front. He hit a double fault and dropped serve, bringing Federer back to the positive side and losing momentum.

Roger locked the result at 4-4 and pushed strong on the return in game nine, passing his rival at the net and forging the advantage. The Swiss wrapped up the opener with a volley winner in game ten, taking the opener 6-4 and moving closer to the title.

Roger painted a backhand return winner in the third game of the second set, moving in front but losing serve in the next one after a double fault. The Frenchman landed a forehand down the line return winner in the eighth game, opening a 5-3 gap and serving for the set.

Roger stayed composed and pulled the break back in game nine with a forced error, prolonging the battle and denying two set points at 4-5 to prolong the battle. The set reached a tie break, and Federer fired two winners at 2-3.

Roger Federer, Milan 2001© Stream screenshot

Boutter clinched two points on his serve for 5-4, and Federer added two winners to his tally for 6-5 and a match point. Julien denied it with a volley winner at the net and missed a set point at 7-6 with a loose forehand.

However, the Frenchman fired a bullet from his backhand at 7-7, cracking a down the line winner and earning another set point. He embraced a serve & volley combo, wrapping up the set and forcing a decider. Roger stayed calm, forgetting about that match point and making a fresh start in the third set.

Boutter placed a forehand long in the first game and suffered an early break. Federer fired a service winner in the second game, cementing the advantage and moving 2-0 in front. Julien reduced the deficit with a hold in game three before Roger grabbed the next one with a powerful serve for 3-1.

The Frenchman punched a backhand crosscourt winner in game five, staying within one break deficit. The young Swiss closed the sixth game at love with an ace, opening a 4-2 gap and moving closer to the finish line. Boutter notched the seventh game at 15 after forcing Federer's error, hoping for return chances in the next one.

Instead, Roger held at 30 with an unreturned serve, opening a 5-3 gap and keeping the pressure on the other side. Julien completed the ninth game with a service winner, leaving Roger to serve for the title at 5-4. The Swiss earned two match points with a fine smash and sealed the deal on the first after the rival's loose forehand, celebrating his first ATP title at 19.

Roger Federer
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