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Saturday, 30 March, 2002, 02:38 GMT
Federer stuns Hewitt
Roger Federer
Hewitt was no match for a rampant Federer
Click here for Thursday's semi-final results

Switzerland's Roger Federer produced a masterful display of tennis to upset world number one Lleyton Hewitt 6-3 6-4 and reach the final of the Nasdaq-100 Open in Miami.

He will meet defending champion Andre Agassi who benefited from the injury-enforced retirement of Marcelo Rios in their semi-final.

Federer reached his first Masters Series final, ending a 23-match winning streak on US soil by the Australian US Open champion.


If I wasn't injured, there was no way he could beat me... I was playing much better than him
Marcelo Rios

It was another impressive performance by the 12th-seeded Swiss, who has not dropped a set nor had his serve broken.

Riding a two-tournament winning streak, Hewitt lacked his usual tenacity after an exhausting three-set quarter-final win over Russian Marat Safin on Thursday.

Hewitt's four matches going into the semi-final averaged two hours while Federer disposed of his opponents in an average of 57 minutes.

"I was a little bit tired," said Hewitt.

"I got off to a bad start as well. He's serving well but I had my chances. In the end, if I played the big points well, it could have been a different story.

"I think this could be a breakthrough year for him (Federer) but whether he's going to get up to top four or five (in the world), that's another question."

Federer, who had lost to the Australian in four of their five previous meetings, had only one early break in each set but that was all the edge the 20-year-old Swiss needed with Hewitt unable to convert his three break opportunities.

"I've never beaten the No. 1 player before," Federer said.

"It's quite a special moment for me, obviously."

Marcelo Rios
Rios will seek treatment for his troublesome knee

Rios pulled out of his match against Agassi after the knee injury that had been troubling him all week finally became too painful to play on.

Agassi, seeded nine and a four-time winner of the event, had levelled the match at one-set all when Rios called it a day.

"I was very surprised," Agassi said.

"The last thing you're expecting is for the match to come to kind of an abrupt end.

"You can't run out the clock. You've got to finish it off. Today was one of those days when I just hung in there long enough."

It was the first time Agassi had beaten Rios.

Agassi won the first break of serve in the ninth game of the opening set, only to surrender the advantage in the following game.

Rios eventually took the set 9-7 in the tie-break, but Agassi broke Rios in the second game of the second set and held on to level the match before the Chilean called it quits.

Victory on Sunday would give the American his 51st career title and fifth Miami trophy.


Nasdaq-100 Open semi-final results:

9-A Agassi (US) bt 31-M Rios (Chi) 6-7 (7-9), 6-4, retired
12-R Federer (Swi) bt 1-L Hewitt (Aus) 6-3, 6-4

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
BBC tennis correspondent Iain Carter
"This was such a shame"
Andre Agassi
"I was very shocked"
Marcelo Rios
"I was playing much better than him"
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