On this day: Roger Federer claims only Challenger title in Brest
by JOVICA ILIC | VIEW 3626
After securing the junior year-end no. 1 honor in 1998, Roger Federer played the first full pro season in 1999. The young Swiss made stellar progress on the ATP list, marching into the top-70 and creating a perfect starting position to attack even more significant results in 2000, still at 18.
Roger was one of the youngsters to watch in 1999, opening 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 at the early stage of the season.
The youngster got the opportunity to make his debut at big Masters 1000 events in Miami and Monte Carlo, reaching the semi-final in Ljubljana Challenger before entering the Roland Garros draw where he took a set away from world no.
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 encounters until the end of September and entering the home event in Basel determined to find the momentum again and add more points to his tally.
Federer scored two victories in his hometown to reach the quarters where Tim Henman defeated him in straight sets. Roger repeated that result a week later in Vienna, scoring three top-40 triumphs before hitting the exit door against world no.
7 Greg Rusedski, entering the top-70 for the first time in a career.
Roger Federer won the only Challenger title in Brest 1999.
A week later, another super talented youngster Lleyton Hewitt prevailed in Lyon's second round, and Roger ended his season at Brest Challenger.
It was the eighth and the last tournament at this level in Roger's career, conquering 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 the fast indoor court and reach the final after another straight-sets victory over Martin Damm.
In the title match, world no. 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 trophy. 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 restless schedule and entering the top-30 to become one of the best players on the Tour and a star in the making.