Federer Wins 3 Breakers, Breaking Ljubicic for Miami Title

Posted on April 3, 2006

During the Pete Sampras era it was players such as Goran Ivanisevic and Petr Korda who rose to No. 2 in the world, but were kept from the top ranking by the dominance of American legend.

Today those players in jeopardy of coming up short are Rafael Nadal, David Nalbandian, and monster-serving Croat Ivan Ljubicic, who on Sunday lost 7-6(5), 7-6(4), 7-6(6) to the dominant world No. 1 Roger Federer in the final of the Masters Series-Miami, the NASDAQ-100 Open, the Swiss' fourth title of the year.

The narrow scoreline betrayed the overall numbers -- Federer has beaten Ljubicic in their last seven meetings, ever since he ascended to the top spot on the ATP Rankings, and is 4-0 over the Croat in their career finals.

Federer trailed in all three tiebreaks, winning a three-tiebreak match for the first time in his career.

"The bigger points, he played better," Ljubicic said. "He played more relaxed and more confident than I was. When you play a tiebreaker against him, he rarely misses."

Federer, noticeably emotional during the match, yelling at himself and arguing with linespeople, improved to 28-1 overall in 2006.

"I was extremely happy with the way I played," Federer said. "The first set gave me a little cushion, and Ivan was always running uphill...To do back-to-back at Indian Wells and Key Biscayne (Miami) is unbelievable."

Other overflow notes in the Federer File: the Swiss is now 9-2 in career Masters Series finals, winning his last eight in a row; he has appeared in 11 consecutive tournament finals, drawing him within one of tying John McEnroe's 1984 mark of 12 in a row; he has won 24 straight Masters Series matches; he has won four straight Masters Series events, a record since the inception of the series in 1990; he has won 48 straight matches on U.S. soil; and he has won 26 titles in his last 37 events.