Tue, Mar 22, 2005 - Page 19 News List

Federer runs on all cylinders to take Pacific Open title

AP , INDIAN WELLS, CALIFORNIA

Top-ranked Roger Federer had every part of his game working Sunday, beating No. 2 Lleyton Hewitt 6-2, 6-4, 6-4 to successfully defend his Pacific Life Open title.

Federer, on a roll that has carried him to 42 wins in his last 43 matches, displayed his usual dazzling array of shots.

Hitting powerful, accurate groundstrokes that kept his Australian opponent scrambling back and forth at the baseline, Federer mixed in winning volleys, winning drop shots and the occasional overhead that he rarely failed to put away.

Federer extended his winning streak over Hewitt to seven in a row, including last year's US Open final.

Federer's skills were evident during an amazing 45-shot rally in the second set -- even though he lost the point.

Toward the end of that rally, the 23-year-old Swiss chased down a shot near the net, sprinted back and across the court to return a lob, came up again to hit another shot, then scurried back once again to flick the ball over his shoulder to return another lob.

Hewitt then hit a drop shot just over the net far to Federer's right. It looked to be a winner, but Federer raced forward, stretched as far as he could and hit the ball back. Hewitt went sprawling to his right and volleyed for a winner.

Both players were out of breath, but smiled broadly. The crowd roared its approval, with the applause continuing for several minutes.

Federer ended the match with his 15th ace -- to Hewitt's four -- and raised his arms high and beamed. He hit the ball into the cheering crowd, with his usual one-handed backhand.

Federer's title was his fourth of the year and seventh in his last eight tournaments.

His only defeat since he began last year's US Open last year was by Marat Safin in this year's Australian Open semifinals. Safin then beat Hewitt in the final.

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