Roger Federer recalls: ‘This is my first win over No. 1 player, I’m thrilled’

Facing each other for the sixth time, Roger Federer took down world no. 1 Lleyton Hewitt in the 2002 Miami Masters semi-final, delivering the second triumph over the Aussie. It was the first win for the young Swiss against world no. 1 player, producing a 6-3, 6-4 victory in an hour and 29 minutes for a place in the first Masters 1000 final. Serving at only 54%, Roger drew the most from his initial shot, dropping 15 points in ten service games and fending off all three break chances. That put the Aussie under pressure, and he could not deal with it, dropping serve once in each set from nine opportunities offered to Roger, who set the title clash against Andre Agassi. Federer had the edge in the shortest and mid-range exchanges, controlling the pace in the rallies with 29 winners and 26 unforced errors to leave Lleyton behind and remain on the title course. 

Roger Federer defeated Lleyton Hewitt in Miami 2002.

“It’s nice to play so well again after that great victory over Pavel. I got it through all the way, and this is why I’m working hard for. It’s special, as I have never beaten world no. 1 before. I also ended Hewitt’s winning streak. It’s very nice to be in the first Masters 1000 final and have a chance to win the tournament. I have played twice against Andre and never beaten him; we even played in my hometown when I was a junior. He is one of the world’s best players on hard courts alongside Lleyton; I’m excited for a chance to play against him, and I’m looking forward to that clash.

I have a day off tomorrow, with enough time to leave this victory behind and prepare for the next challenge. I did not panic from the baseline; I could stay with Lleyton in the exchanges when I wanted. I mixed up my game well and found the good tactics in the last few matches against different rivals; I have to find the right one against Andre; otherwise, it’s going to be tough. I have found the rhythm on serve again; that’s something I had been missing for a month. I did not get enough free points, and my baseline game was not as good as it is now,” Roger Federer said.

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