ThrowbackTimes Indian Wells: Roger Federer tops Andre Agassi to reach first final

The upcoming star Roger Federer couldn’t find his A-game in the Indian Wells Masters 1000 event in the first three trips to the desert, winning only three matches and hoping for a better run in 2004. That March, Roger returned to the season’s first Masters 1000 event as world no. 1 and one of the title favorites, spending some four hours and 20 minutes on the court in the first four encounters and dropping 15 games in eight sets to storm over his opponents and set the semi-final clash with Andre Agassi. It was the sixth meeting between Major winners and the third straight triumph for Federer, who prevailed 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 in an hour and 53 minutes for the place in the first Indian Wells final. The Swiss delivered better numbers behind the second serve and fended off five out of six break chances to mount the pressure on the American, who got broken once in sets he lost to finish his run in the semis.

Federer had more winners and unforced errors, delivering an aggressive approach and forcing more mistakes from Agassi’s racquet to cross the finish line first, having the upper hand in the shortest and most advanced rallies. Roger held at love in the first game and repeated that at 1-1 with a service winner, with Agassi doing the same to level the score at 2-2 in no time at all. Out of a sudden, Federer hit a double fault to suffer a break at 15 in game five, finding himself 4-2 down following another comfortable hold from Andre, who did everything right so far.

In 2004, Roger Federer defeated Andre Agassi in the Indian Wells semi-final.

The American held after deuce in game eight and secured the opener with a backhand crosscourt winner at 5-4 after half an hour. Creating no break chances in the first set, Federer made a better start in set number two, stealing Agassi’s serve at 15 in game two after a deep return that the veteran failed to control.

The youngster sprayed a forehand error in game five to offer his opponent a break chance, fending it off with a service winner and bringing the game home with an unreturned serve to extend the gap to a 4-1. Another powerful serve pushed the Swiss 5-2 up, serving for the set at 5-3 when Agassi earned another break chance that could have extended the set for him. Roger forced an error to repel it and secured the set thanks to American’s backhand error to bring a decider. Andre survived break chances in the first game to avoid an early setback, feeling the pressure again at 2-2 but still standing strong to open a 3-2 lead.

In the eighth game, the home player had a massive opportunity to bring the victory home after earning a break point following a forehand crosscourt winner. Roger stayed focused and saved both break chances with forehand winners, leveling the score at 4-4 with a service winner and taking four straight points on the return to grab the decisive break that sent him closer to the finish line. The Swiss emerged at the top after a hold at love in game ten to set the final clash against Tim Henman in his fourth Masters 1000 title match.