October 31, 1999: Roger Federer, 18, wins first pro title in Brest

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October 31, 1999: Roger Federer, 18, wins first pro title in Brest

After securing the junior year-end number 1 position in 1998, Roger Federer played his first full pro season in 1999 and he made a stellar progress through the rankings, climbing from just outside the Top 300 towards the Top 70 and creating a perfect starting position to attack higher ranking positions in 2000, still at the age of 18. Roger was one of the youngsters to follow in 1999 and he opened the season with the semi-final run at Heilbronn Challenger before reaching the quarter-final at the ATP tournaments in Marseille and Rotterdam, proving his class and moving closer to the place inside the Top 100 less than two months since the start of the season.

The youngster had a chance to make his debut at big Masters 1000 events in Miami and Monte Carlo, also reaching the semi-final in Ljubljana Challenger before entering the Roland Garros draw where he took a set away from world number 3 Patrick Rafter.

Roger was struggling to find form after the semi-final run in Surbiton Challenger on grass, losing nine of the next 12 matches until the end of September and entering the home event in Basel determined to find the form again and add more points to his tally.

Federer scored two wins in his hometown to reach the quarters where he lost to Tim Henman and a week later in Vienna he grabbed three Top 40 wins before losing to world number 7 Greg Rusedski in straight sets, entering the Top 70 for the first time in his career.

A week later, another super talented youngster Lleyton Hewitt prevailed in the second round of Lyon and Roger ended his season at Brest Challenger. This was the eighth Challenger event in Roger's career and the last one as it turned out, winning his first professional title (he won two legs of Switzerland Masters a year ago) to wrap up the season on a high note and travel home with a trophy in his hands.

Roger took down Lionel Roux, Rodolphe Gilbert and Michael Llodra to reach the semis, using his aggressive and explosive game to dominate on the fast indoor court and reaching the final after another straight sets win over Martin Damm.

In the title match, world number 90 Max Mirnyi stood between Roger and his first pro title and the youngster scored a 7-6 6-3 triumph to go all the way and pick up the title. The rest is pretty much history and Federer was ready to compete against the best players in the world from 2000, winning 36 matches in a very busy schedule and entering the Top 30 to become one of the best players on the Tour and a star in the making. Roger Federer's best results in 1999: