Roger Federer established himself as a top 10 player at the end of 2002, with big plans for the new season. The Swiss won his first major title at Wimbledon 2003, earned notable points and entered the competition for a world record.
First place during the US Open. On Monday, August 4, Roger was 340 points behind Andre Agassi on the ATP list. Andre lost in the quarter-finals of the Canada Masters to Rainer Schuettler, and Federer had the opportunity to pass him and conquer the ATP throne for the first time.
Just a day after turning 22, Roger walked the field against Andy Roddick on August 9 in the semi-final match that pitted him against Agassi. The Swiss couldn’t take the last step, losing 6-4, 3-6, 7-6 in 1 hour 56 minutes.
Thus, Roger lost a tremendous opportunity to take the ATP throne six months before he did in February 2004. This was their fifth meeting on the tour and Andy’s first win. The American was very excited to do his best against Federer after losing to him in the Wimbledon semi-final a month ago.
The Swiss had a 4-2 advantage in the final set but failed to bring the match home, ending his career in the semi-finals. After losing the first round at Roland Garros, Roddick split from his longtime coach Tariq Benhabelis and hired Brad Gilbert.
Brad was getting the best out of him and carrying him toward no. First place in November of that year. After this win over Roger, Andy racked up 23 wins from 25 games under Brad, winning the US Open a month later.
The American player made only 48%, and was broken twice from the number of opportunities offered to Federer. On the other hand, Roger made ten double faults and struggled on the second serve. The Swiss faced nine break points and blocked seven of them.
He had a chance to seal the deal after that break in the final set but ultimately failed. Roddick scored 34 wins and 23 unforced errors.
Roger Federer had the chance to become a world number one. 1 in Montreal 2003.
Meanwhile, Roger finished the match with similar numbers, clocking a 38-28 ratio to follow the opponent’s pace and perform at a higher level in some moments.
Roddick had two break points already in Game 3 of the match and converted the first when Roger hit a backhand to take an early lead. The American took a 3-1 lead with three aces, played well from the base line and took advantage of Roger’s backhand to keep the upper hand in the rally.
Federer recovered from a slow start and created a 30-0 advantage to come back at 3-4, only to lose four points in a row and fall 5-3. The American finished the opener with a 10th serve winner after a fast 29 minutes, keeping his second serve safe and being a more determined player from the baseline.
Things went from bad to worse for Roger, as he faced three breakout chances at the start of the second set. He pushed them off for critical comment and promotion. Both served well until Game Six when Andy had trouble serving after taking a 40-0 lead.
He double-faulted to give Roger a break opportunity, and the Swiss hit it off when Roddick sent in a long ball. Federer finished the set with a love fist in the ninth game, reducing the number of fouls and only using this opportunity to return to send the confrontation to the decider.
With that momentum, Roger broke through the early stages of the final set to take the driving seat. He read Andy’s serve better than he did in the opening match and took charge from baseline to close that match with a backhand winner.
Federer saved two break points in the fourth game with an aces and the third with a forehand, refusing to serve and taking a 3-1 lead. He had to dig deep again at 3-2, landing a stunning backhand winner after 23 powerful hits to fend off another break opportunity.
Roger finished the match with two serve winners to take a 4-2 lead, moving two games away from becoming a world record. 1. Hanging there, Roddick got another breakout opportunity after an impressive comeback in Game Eight and tapped it another deep to make it 4-4.
The American player fired three service winners in the next game to move forward, and both players held a break for the next three games to prepare a break for a tie. After Roger’s double-fault, Andy got his first small break on the second point.
Federer missed an easy forehand on the next but pulled a small break back at 1-3 to keep himself in the competition, doing his best to cross the finish line first. However, his fate was pretty much doomed when Roddick got the next point with a perfect forehand. The American moved over the top when Roger hit a long forehand 6-3 to seal the deal and advance to the final.