On this day: Roger Federer wins Munich title in dominant style



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On this day: Roger Federer wins Munich title in dominant style

Roger Federer conquered the first Masters 1000 title in Hamburg in 2002, beating Marat Safin on clay and cracking the top-10 on the next day. With some ups and downs by the end of the year, Roger wrapped up the season in the top-6, having a chance to compete at the Masters Cup for the first time and reaching the semi-final.

In 2003, the Swiss made an even stronger push towards the positions on the very top, lifting seven titles overall and picking up the first Major at Wimbledon. From 58 triumphs in 2002, Federer notched 78 a year later, winning Marseille and Dubai and traveling to Indian Wells and Miami with most wins in the first two months of the season.

After mediocre results at the "Sunshine double," Roger scored two wins for Switzerland in the Davis Cup against France and took a couple of weeks off to get ready for the clay-court events in May. In his first stop on the clay-court swing that spring, Federer competed in Munich for the first and only time, dominating over five opponents in Bavaria and dropping 27 games in ten sets en route to the seventh ATP title.

The Swiss found a perfect balance between essential defensive skills and his usual aggressive approach, suffering only five breaks and spending less than five hours on the court overall to lift the trophy! The Croat Zeljko Krajan stayed on the court for 65 minutes, with Roger delivering a 6-4, 6-3 triumph, suffering two breaks and earning four to seal the deal in straight sets.

The Swiss scored an identical victory over Raemon Sluiter in swift 59 minutes to find himself in the quarters, facing the only top-30 player that week Mikhail Youzhny and ousting the Russian 6-2, 6-3 in 61 minutes. Roger gave away only 11 points in nine service games and Mikhail was nowhere near that level, allowing Federer to break him thrice and race into the last four where he faced Stefan Koubek.

The Austrian couldn't match the pace of the youngster either, squandering all six break chances and dropping more than half of the points behind the initial shot to hand Federer four breaks of serve and propel him into the 13th ATP final.

A good friend Jarkko Nieminen stood between world no. 5 and the trophy on May 4 and, just like the previous four players, he had no chance against Roger who claimed a 6-1, 6-4 in 56 minutes to complete a perfect week. Nieminen made a solid base, landing 80% of the first serve in and taking Roger's serve away twice, destroying all that with poor performance in his service games, offering nine break opportunities to the Swiss and getting broken five times to lose the advantage in set number two and propel the rival over the top.

Federer had more winners and fewer unforced errors, dominating in the shortest exchanges and standing strong in the longest ones as well to deserve the triumph and lift the seventh ATP title in no time at all. Roger drew first blood in game two and that set the tone for the rest of the opener, securing two more in the games that followed for a 6-1.

The Finn bounced back in set number two, racing into a 3-0 lead before dropping the next three games as easy as he won those previous ones. At 4-4, Federer grabbed the crucial break and held after a deuce for a 6-4 and the crown, the third of the season that would only get better two months later at Wimbledon when he claimed the maiden Grand Slam title.