The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Title for Federer

Houston: Wimbledon champion Roger Federer closed out the season with a 6-3, 6-0, 6-4 demolition of Andre Agassi on Sunday to claim the ATP Masters Cup, the $1.52 million winnerís 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 honour, Federerís brilliant 5-0 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 menís player.

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

Federerís victory earned him a Tour season-high seventh title and ended Agassiís bid to capture his first Masters since his debut at the year-end finale 13 years ago.

ďWhat a great finish,Ē said Federer, who had claimed his first career win over Agassi on Monday in his opening round-robin match. ďI really over-achieved everything I set for myself. Seven titles on four different surfaces, my first Grand slam, number two in the world... itís really been an unbelievable year for me.Ē

Coming off a two-set demolition of Roddick in the semi-finals, 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.

Trailing 3-6, 0-2, 0-30, Agassiís 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 breaking Agassi before sweeping through the next four games to take a two-set lead.

Having battled through four gruelling three-set matches to reach the final, a weary Agassi attempted to mount one final stand in the third set, fighting off a break-point to hold serve and end Federerís run of seven successive games.

But the 33-year-old could never exert enough pressure on Federerís serve, the Swiss dealing the decisive blow with a break at to go up 5-4 and then finishing off the Australian Open champion with a thundering ace.

ďI think heís proven that he can play great in big situations, today he play really well,Ē conceded Agassi.

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