Tue, Nov 18, 2003 - Page 20 News List

Federer beats Agassi to clinch ATP Masters Cup

REUTERS , HOUSTON

Wimbledon champion Roger Federer closed out the season with a 6-3 6-0, 6-4 demolition of Andre Agassi on Sunday claiming the ATP Masters Cup, the US$1.52 million winner's purse, a sports car and the No. 2 world ranking.

While Andy Roddick departed the Westside Tennis Club with the coveted year-end No. 1 honor, Federer's brilliant unbeaten run through the season finale, culminating with an 88 minute dismantling of the eight-time grand slam champion, left many hailing the 22 year-old Swiss as the best men's player.

Certainly there could be no argument about who was the better on this night.

Federer never faced a break point, had 39 winners to just 13 for Agassi and out-aced his opponent 11-1, the last to close out the match.

Federer's victory earned him a Tour season high seventh title and ended Agassi's hopes of capturing his first Masters since his debut at the year-end finale 13 years ago.

Coming off a two set demolition of Roddick in the semifinals, Federer carried that momentum into the final getting the contest off to a blinding start.

On superb form right from the opening serve, Federer earned the first and only break point of the first set in the fourth game and immediately made Agassi pay, finishing the rally with an easy forehand winner to surge in front 3-1.

Not even the urging's of pro-American crowd could inspire Agassi, as he struggled for answers against the clockwork precision of his stylish Swiss opponent.

Having registered his first career victory over Agassi in the opening match of the round-robin, a confident Federer stepped up his assault, breaking his faltering opponent to open the second set when the American double faulted.

With Federer dominating every aspect of the match Agassi could only look to the dark clouds hovering overhead and pray for rain.

Trailing 6-3, 2-0, 0-30, Agassi's prayers were answered as a torrential downpour drove spectators for cover and the players to the locker rooms.

But there would be no help from above when play resumed two and a half hours later, as Federer quickly reaffirmed his authority.

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