After the first three months of the 2002 season, Roger Federer already had 23 victories, winning one title and reaching his first Masters 1000 final to move on the verge of the top-10. The young Swiss couldn’t play at his best in the second part of 2001 with a groin injury suffered at Wimbledon, returning stronger at the beginning of 2002. Roger won the title in Sydney and reached the Australian Open fourth round, where he lost an epic battle with Tommy Haas in the decider. Roger couldn’t defend the Milan crown following a title clash loss, earning two singles wins over Russia in the Davis Cup on clay before losing ground a bit in Rotterdam, Dubai and Indian Wells, where he scored four wins in total. Heading to Miami, where he was the quarter-finalist a year ago, Federer produced five straight-sets victories to earn the first Masters 1000 final, making another big step towards the top-10.
Roger Federer lost the first Masters 1000 final in Miami 2002 to Andre Agassi.
In the semis, Roger scored the first victory over world no. 1, toppling Lleyton Hewitt 6-3, 6-4 and gathered momentum ahead of the final meeting with the home star Andre Agassi. The defending champion proved to be too strong for the young Swiss, scoring a 6-3, 6-3, 3-6, 6-4 triumph, his third and last over Roger. Eager to play well in the first Masters 1000 final, Federer claimed the third set and opened a 4-2 gap in the fourth before the American shifted into a higher gear to rattle off four straight games and seal the deal. After the match, Roger said he was disappointed about missing the top-10 spot and that he feels great on the court, happy with how he performed in the opening three months and hoping for more of the same on clay.
“I’m thrilled I’ve played well again; it’s been a great start of the year. I won my second title in Sydney and produced some excellent tennis on an outdoor court, unlike in the previous season when I struggled a lot. It has been a fun and nice week. I’m disappointed I didn’t make the top-10 here in Miami because I had a chance, playing well from the baseline to beat the guy like Lleyton Hewitt. For a while, I dominated Andre Agassi in the final, and I’m pleased with the way I played, hoping to shift this momentum onto the clay season; I have the potential to play well on the slowest surface as well,” Roger Federer said.