Coming in to his 112th career final match, Roger Federer hadn't won a title for 43 weeks (after his last title win @ Cincinnati 2012). This was his 2nd longest title-less streak after winning his first title at Milan in February, 2001. (Jointly tied with the 43 weeks title-less streak that he had from Qatar in January, 2011 to Basel in November, 2011 & with the longest being the Milan, February 2001 to Sydney, January, 2002 that lasted 49 weeks).
It took 2 hours & 2 minutes for Roger Federer to end this title drought as he defeated a resurgent Mikhail Youzhhny 6-7(5), 6-3, 6-4 to claim his 1st title of 2013, his 77th overall career title (that equals him with John McEnroe's 77 titles, only Ivan Lendl with 94 & Jimmy Connors with 109 titles are ahead of Roger Federer in the number of titles won). This was Roger Federer's 6th title win at Halle & his first after 2008.
Picture of Roger Federer with his first trophy win of 2013
Roger Federer had 4 break points in the very first game but couldn't convert any, become of some untimely unforced errors. The 30 year old Russian had one break point on Federer's service in the 4th game but Federer saved it & made it 2-all. The next 6 games went on service, but, how ever, Federer's game didn't have the same flow as he kept on making unforced errors on both forehand & backhand side. How ever, Federer still managed to keep in pace with the Russian.
In the 11th game, Federer once again had a break point on Youzhny's service, but once again, missed it with a forehand error. The Russian held on to make it 6-5.
The very next game, Youzhny had a break point (set point), how ever, Federer saved it to take the set to the tie-breaker.
The tie-breaker had some dramatic moments & on the very first point, Youzhny had a lucky net cord & thanks to some gutsy play & Federer's unforced errors which were coming regularly, Youzhny raced to a 5-3 lead, how ever, Federer got the help of the net cord & it was 5-4.
How ever, Mikhail Youzhny managed to win the tie-breaker 7-5 & the set 7-6 in 56 minutes. It was the 4th set that Mikhail Youzhny has managed to win in 15 matches vs Roger Federer.
Here are the first set stats --------
Clearly, Federer's 13 unforced errors to 4 winners was the main reason that he lost the first set & looked pretty ordinary in the first set.
The first 5 games went on service, Federer once again had break points in the 6th game on Youzhny's service, but couldn't convert.
But, in the 8th game, Federer got 3 break points & the Russian double faulted to hand over the game & a crucial lead of 5-3 to Federer. This was the first break of the match in the 86th minute. This was by far the poorest game that the Russian played in the match and this game shifted all the momentum in favor of the Swiss maestro. Federer then served out the set on his second set point to win the set 6-3 in 32 minutes.
Here are the 2nd set stats :::
Federer served much better in this set & controlled his unforced errors & kept encouraging himself with those loud Come on's.
Federer was the clear favorite going in to the 3rd set as all the momentum had shifted in favor of the Swiss Maestro. Federer had the first opening in the 7th game as he got 3 break points on the Russian's service. Federer broke Youzhny's service to gain a vital 4-3 lead and that break proved to be sufficient as Federer served out the set & the match in the 10th game on his second set point.
Roger Federer won the match 6-7(5), 6-3, 6-4 in 2 hours and 2 minutes.
Here are the full match stats ------
Federer looked very flat in the first half of the match & kept making unforced errors both on the forehand & backhand side, but inspite of his that, his service kept him in the match. Federer served 12 aces in the match and clearly, the momentum of the match got shifted in the 8th game of the 2nd set.
This was Federer's 15th successive win over Mikhail Youzhny who played the best match out of all these 15 meeting & still lost the match
More Pics, video highlights, recording, interview quotes to follow in the following posts.