Heading to Miami 2001 with only two Masters 1000 victories, Roger Federer found the way to add three triumphs to his tally in Florida and reach the first Masters 1000 quarter-final. There, he faced world no. 8 Patrick Rafter who proved to be too strong for the youngster, beating him 6-3, 6-1 in swift 56 minutes to stay on the title course and terminate Federer's journey in the last eight.
The Aussie used his booming initial shots to win 30 out of 34 points after landing the first serve in, fending off both break chances and mounting the pressure on Federer who couldn't provide similar numbers in his games, getting broken four times from eight chances offered to Rafter to stand behind all the time.
The Swiss wasn't happy with the way he competed, standing powerless on the court and making too many errors in the rallies that he should have won against the rival who threw everything at him with an aggressive serve&volley game.
"Well, I tried to hold my serve today. I don't know, my game plan just didn't work; I couldn't complete what I had in mind because my serve just didn't work, giving him a lot of chances on the return.
I think Patrick played well today but my performance was really bad. It is a big disappointment, I am a little bit sad losing in straight sets like this, it is not easy to admit. It was a big match for me to play Pat here, probably the conditions favored him; the surface and everything.
I tried my best but I never found my game. I had some chances in the beginning but he served well; after that, I didn't have any opportunity at all on his serve, he made me play bad and I would say I made him play well.
I have to work on my serve in the next few weeks because it has been a disappointment all week long. No second serve and you can't beat Pat Rafter without it. I am okay with somebody attacking me all the time like he did.
When I feel good, I can pass anybody but today wasn't that day, the serves were just too weak and you could attack really on almost unpassable shots; it was very easy for him at the net. I didn't have many passing shots today, not finding my game from the baseline once the rally would go on.
In the end, I couldn't return the ball anymore; he was starting to serve better. I will now play the Davis Cup against France at home next week and then all the Masters Series events on clay in Monte Carlo, Rome, Hamburg, adding Munich to my schedule as well."