Roger Federer and Lleyton Hewitt met 27 times on the Tour, with the Swiss scoring 18 victories after a slow start against the Aussie. Lleyton scored seven wins over Roger in the first nine clashes, and Federer took charge in 2003 to turn their rivalry in his favor. Federer scored 15 consecutive wins over Hewitt and was the favorite in the 2010 Halle final. Instead, Lleyton defeated Roger 3-6, 7-6, 6-4 in two hours and 22 minutes for his 28th ATP title. It was Roger’s first loss in Halle after 29 straight victories following the 2002 semi-final defeat. Federer experienced the second failure on grass since 2003, winning 76 of the last 77 clashes on the green surface before Hewitt halted him after a turnaround. Federer had 13 aces, but Hewitt found a way to neutralize the rival’s first serve and create nine break chances.
He converted two to stay in touch after getting broken twice from ten opportunities offered to Federer. The Aussie defended his second serve more efficiently to emerge as a deserved winner, taking eight points more than the Swiss. Roger had a slight advantage in the shortest points up to four strokes thanks to those service winners. Still, he was outplayed in more extended rallies, with Lleyton as the dominant figure in the mid-range exchanges between five and eight shots and those that reached the tenth stroke. Federer kicked off the action with a comfortable hold after a forehand down the line winner and earned two break points in the second game that could have given him an instant lead. Lleyton repelled them and created a break chance at 2-2 when Roger’s forehand landed long.
Roger Federer lost his first match in Halle after 29 wins in the 2010 final.
Federer saved it with a beautiful volley winner to remain in front and grabbed a break in the next one despite Hewitt’s three game points. The Aussie was there to fight and could have pulled it back a few minutes later after a smash winner. He was denied by Roger’s three excellent points, and the crowd’s favorite moved 5-2 ahead after a volley winner at the net. Serving for the set in game nine, Federer held after deuce to take the opener 6-3 in 37 minutes and move closer to his 30th win in a row in Halle. Hewitt had the edge at the start of the second set and broke Federer in game two when the Swiss failed to control a tough smash. The Aussie saved two break chances in the next one before spraying a forehand error on the third. Federer was back on the positive side, and he erased two more break points in game four to lock the result at 2-2. Both players served well until 4-4 when the Aussie faced an ultimate challenge.
He erased three break points with winners to avoid almost an inevitable defeat. The set went into a tie break, and Hewitt forged a lead with a mini-break in the third point. He built a 4-1 advantage when Roger sprayed a forehand mistake and closed the breaker in the 11th point after a backhand error from his opponent. Federer claimed a 33-stroke rally at the beginning of the final set, but he still got broken to push Hewitt in front. The Aussie held at love in game two to confirm the advantage and earned another break point in the next one. Roger saved it with a service winner and worked hard again at 1-3 to secure the game after deuce and remain within one break deficit.
A forehand winner gave Lleyton a 4-2 advantage and complete control before creating another break chance a few minutes later. Roger saved it and escaped with two winners, although he needed a break as soon as possible to prolong his chances. However, he could not do much on the return as Lleyton clinched the eighth game with an unreturned serve that moved him 5-3 up. Federer finally made a more relaxed hold in game nine to reduce the deficit and force Hewitt to serve for the title. Roger made one last push and created a break chance in game ten after Lleyton’s double fault. The Aussie stayed calm and fended it off with a strong forehand attack before drawing a match point with a smash winner. He converted it after a super lucky net cord to celebrate the title, his first on grass since Queen’s 2006.