Roger Federer stunned the defending Wimbledon champion Pete Sampras at the All England Club in 2001, reaching the quarter-final of the most prestigiuous tennis event in the world and making a big step towards the top-10. Nonetheless, his progress was halted due to a groin injury suffered in London, missing all the action ahead of the US Open and playing just one final by the end of the season, in his hometown of Basel.
Determined to make a step forward in 2002, Federer won the title in Sydney and reached the fourth round at the Australian Open before losing in the final in Milan, failin to defend the title from a year ago. Delivering his best tennis against Yevgeny Kafelnikov and Marat Safin in the Davis Cup, Roger couldn't keep that level in Rotterdam, Dubai and Indian Wells, finding the form again in Miami en route to his first Masters 1000 final.
In the semis, Federer scored the first victory over world no. 1 player, toppling Lleyton Hewitt 6-3, 6-4 in an hour and 29 minutes, losing just 15 points in ten service games and fending off all three break chances to keep the pressure on Hewitt all the time.
The Aussie couldn't match those numbers in his games, getting broken once in each set to propel Roger into the title match against another incredible baseliner Andre Agassi. The American was the defending champion and he proved to be too tough for Roger on that day, beating the Swiss 6-3, 6-3, 3-6, 6-4 after a great comeback in the fourth set to lift the fifth Miami Open crown.
Finding the rhythm in the third set, Federer forged a 4-2 advantage in the fourth as well, moving closer to force a decider before Agassi rattled off four straight games to cross the finish line and keep the trophy in his cabinet.
"For me, Lleyton Hewitt and Andre Agassi are different players; you feel more heat from Andre's shots. He takes the ball earlier and makes you run more. Still, I see that Lleyton can bother Andre because he runs down a lot of balls and passes them well. The match between these guys is a great one to watch but for me, they are entirely different players."