Roger Federer won his first Masters 1000 title in Hamburg 2002, having to wait until 2004 to add more trophies to the collection. The Swiss had ups and downs in the premium ATP series in 2003, hitting some early exits and scoring three notable results in Rome, Montreal and Madrid.
Roger played well in other tournaments that year, lifting the first Major title at Wimbledon and becoming one of the no. 1 spot contenders. The Swiss wasted an opportunity to conquer the ATP throne in Montreal, Cincinnati and the US Open, making a strong finish to close the season ranked 2nd behind Andy Roddick.
After back problems in Basel and Paris, Roger recovered in time for the ATP Masters Cup and showed his best tennis in Houston to secure the title. With those five top-10 triumphs and 750 points under his belt, Federer was ready to chase the leading position at the beginning of 2004.
In the round-robin encounters, Roger defeated Andre Agassi and David Nalbandian for the first time before ousting Juan Carlos Ferrero in the last match to reach the semis in style. Roger defeated Andy Roddick 7-6, 6-2 for his first Masters Cup final, losing in the semi-final in Shanghai a year ago.
Playing against Andre Agassi for the second time that week, Federer notched a 6-3, 6-0, 6-4 victory, never facing a break point and securing five breaks to control the scoreboard. Roger lost 17 points in 12 service games, keeping the pressure on the veteran and beating him in every element.
Andre sprayed almost 20 unforced errors and hit 11 winners from the field. Federer grabbed 46% of the return points, doing enough in sets one and three and completely outplaying Andre in the second.
Roger Federer claimed the first Masters 1000 title in Houston 2003.
Blasting 51 winners, Federer reduced the number of unforced errors to 12 and reigned supreme in the shortest range up to four shots (60-36).
Roger grabbed the first break in the fourth game, forging a 3-1 advantage and closing the opener with a hold at 5-3. With nothing working his way, Andre won only four points on serve in set number two, suffering a bagel and propelling Federer closer to the finish line.
The American stayed in touch earlier in the third set, playing better than in the previous two. In the ninth game, Federer grabbed a crucial break that pushed him 5-4 in front and sealed the deal with an ace a couple of minutes later for the second notable title of the year.
"It's nice to be on the list with the champions of this event from the past. Also, it feels special to win here after failing to lift the Masters Series trophy this year, scoring five top-10 triumphs en route to the trophy.
The first match against Agassi was the key for the entire week. I couldn't find the rhythm on the practice court, but everything was perfect once the encounters started," Roger Federer said.