In December 1998, Roger Federer claimed the Orange Bowl crown at Crandon Park in Miami, returning there a couple of months later to compete at the Masters 1000 event. The 17-year-old lost in the first round to Kenneth Carlsen in two tight sets, waiting until 2000 to clinch the first triumph at the Miami Open. It came against Justin Gimelstob, with world no. 53 scoring a 7-5, 6-3 victory in 73 minutes to reach the second round and secure the fifth Masters 1000 win. Defending his second serve superbly, Roger fended off two break chances, shifting the pressure to the other side of the net and producing one break in each set to find himself over the top.
Both players had more winners than unforced errors, with the Swiss hitting over 20 direct points and less than ten unforced mistakes, forcing over 30 Gimelstob’s errors and dominating the shortest range up to four strokes to forge the triumph. The youngster held from 30-0 down in the first game and fended off a break chance in the third game with a forehand winner and held after Gimelstob’s volley error. Federer fired a service winner at 2-2 to remain in front, and nothing could separate them in the remaining games to reach 5-5 in just 30 minutes after a rock-solid performance behind the initial shot.
Roger Federer earned first Masters 1000 victory vs. Justin Gimelstob in Miami 2000.
Roger closed the 11th game with back-to-back forehand winners and found the range on the return, landing a forehand winner to earn a break at 6-5 and close the opening set in 40 minutes. Gimelstob avoided a complete downfall after fending off break chances in the second set’s second game, missing the opportunity on Roger’s serve in the next one following an ace from the Swiss. Federer seized a break a few minutes later to open a 7-5, 3-1 gap after Justin’s forehand error and held at 15 with an ace in game five to confirm the advantage. Roger delivered another powerful hold at 4-2 and sealed the deal in game nine following Gimelstob’s backhand error to record a milestone victory at 18.