Roger Federer achieved 1251 ATP wins during his incredible career. Many competed against the most notable opponents in the most notable tennis scene. Still, there is only one triumph that Roger considers perfect. It didn’t come against Rafael Nadal or Novak Djokovic, but against Lleyton Hewitt in the 2004 US Open final!
Roger bested Andre Agassi in the quarterfinals and dominated the next two games to become the first player since Mats Wilander in 1988 with three Majors in a single season! On September 12, Federer defeated former champion Lleyton Hewitt 6-0, 7-6, 6-0 in an hour and 49 minutes in one of the strangest Major Finals results ever!
A player lost the US Open final after suffering two bagels for the first time since 1884, with Federer the only competitor in sets one and three. This made Federer the first player to win the first four Major finals. Lleyton had an 8-5 advantage in their meetings prior to this encounter.
Still, Roger already had the upper hand over the former world No. 1. 1 and grabbed the last three wins ahead of another superb performance in New York. Hewitt was in fine form, losing the Cincinnati finals to Agassi and winning 16 straight matches (23 complete sets) before the last meeting with Roger.
The Aussie defeated all six rivals in straight sets in New York after a favorable draw and no one could have predicted he would lose the final so quickly. Both players struggled to find first serves (55%) and Roger got the most out of his first serve.
He grabbed 78% of the points on his first serve and saved five of six break points to keep the pressure on the other side. A 2001 champion and one of the most consistent players at the US Open over the past few seasons, he’s struggled to find a rhythm in his service games.
He had 13 break chances in 12 different games and was broken seven times. Federer had 23 service winners and another 18 from his forehand.
Roger Federer scored his perfect win in the 2004 US Open final.
On the other hand, Hewitt’s groundstrokes stayed in the dressing room, unable to push Federer out of his comfort zone or capitalize on the rallies.
Roger had a clear lead in the shortest points up to four shots and was ahead in midfield and the widest shots to dominate from start to finish. The first set was over in just 18 minutes and it was one-way traffic the whole time.
Federer scored an incredible 24 out of 29 points, including the last 12. In doing so, he served Lleyton the fourth bagel this season after the Australian Open, Hamburg and Wimbledon! Roger was leading 6-0 and 2-0 after about 30 minutes and it was the most impressive start in the Major finals of the Open era.
However, the Swiss couldn’t keep the same pace in the rest of the set, making 20 errors and saving a break chance in game six after dropping three straight aces. Hewitt stayed in touch as he fended off three break points in game seven.
He broke back in game ten when Roger served for the set after saving three set points. The Australian converted his fourth opportunity and that game lasted just five minutes short of the entire first set! Federer stayed focused and won the tiebreak 7-3, bringing the set home in 68 minutes and gaining momentum ahead of the decider.
It was all about Roger there. He went on to win 6-0 after 25 minutes, sealing the deal with a forehand winner to lift his fourth Major crown, the first of five straight in New York.