Federer trounces Hewitt to take Masters title

Federer returns a shot during Sunday's final in Houston Keystone

Switzerland’s Roger Federer has won a record 13th straight final, after beating Lleyton Hewitt to take the ATP Masters Cup in Houston, Texas.

This content was published on November 22, 2004 minutes

The world number one crowned his most successful year on the professional circuit by defeating his Australian rival in two sets, 6-3, 6-2.

The 23-year-old Swiss dominated the final tournament of the season just as he dominated most of 2004, winning his second straight Masters Cup and breaking the record of 12 straight finals victories shared by Bjorn Borg and John McEnroe.

“It’s been an incredible season, like a fairy tale,” said Federer.

“I can leave on vacation now with a great feeling and with great memories. My priorities now are to defend my Wimbledon title and to defend my number one ranking. That’s what I’m aiming for.”

Praise for Hewitt

Federer also had words of praise for his defeated opponent, who he described as a “great counter puncher”.

“I’ve had some tough losses to Hewitt… [but] the last few matches have been one-sided, which surprises me because he's such a great player.”

Federer, who earned $1.52 million (SFr1.8 million) in Houston, became the first player since Ivan Lendl in 1986/87 to win consecutive Masters Cup titles without losing a match.

Federer also won his 22nd tournament since 2000 and his 74th match of the year, tying American Andy Roddick for the tour lead.

Rain delays

Rain delayed the tournament in Houston throughout the week, and Sunday’s final was no exception.

The start was delayed by almost three hours, and the first set was just 27 minutes old when rain stopped play with Federer leading 5-2.

After the rain delay, Federer closed out the first set and broke Hewitt in the fifth game of the second set to take a 3-2 lead, after which Hewitt managed to win only four more points.

It was game, set and match for the Swiss after just 67 minutes on court.

Sunday’s tie was less memorable than Federer's semi-final victory over Russia's Marat Safin on Saturday, when the Swiss won a marathon 20-18 tiebreaker in the second set.

It was only the third tiebreaker to reach 20-18 since the system started in 1970.

swissinfo with agencies

Key facts

Federer won the Masters final in Houston in just 67 minutes.
He defeated his Australian rival, Lleyton Hewitt, in straight sets, 6-3, 6-2.
The Swiss takes home $1.52 million in prize money.

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