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Federer Wins First ATP Title

February 4, 2001

MILAN, Italy (AP) _ Roger Federer of Switzerland won his first ATP title Sunday, defeating Julien Boutter of France 6-4, 6-7 (7), 6-4 in the final of the $400,000 Milan Indoors tournament.

Federer, seeded seventh, beat an opponent playing in his first ATP final.

``The first title is very special,″ said Federer, who was in his third final. ``I would say my career starts now.″

In the third set, Federer broke serve in the opening game, then held serve the rest of the way for the victory at Palalido Arena and the first prize of $54,000.

Federer embraced his mother in the dressing room and held the tournament trophy, a big silver cup.

``It was a tough final and I learned that you must play well to win tournaments,″ he said.

Boutter said the first set was the key.

``When I failed to hold my serve on 4-2, it was a bad psychological blow,″ he said. ``When you lose you feel weak. ... The final was my chance and I was emotional.″

Boutter, who had lost his serve only once in the previous four matches of the tournament, was broken three times in the first set, twice in the second and once on the third.

Both players served seven aces, but Boutter had 11 double faults to Federer’s four.

Federer faced a difficult moment in the first set when he trailed 4-2. He pulled to 5-4, breaking Boutter twice and then serving to 6-4, winning four games in a row.

In the second-set tiebreaker, Federer blew a match point at 6-5. Boutter won the tiebreak 9-7 with an ace and backhand passing shot.

Federer, ranked 29th in the ATP, defeated second-seeded Yvengeny Kafelnikov in the semifinals. Boutter, ranked 53rd, downed Greg Rusedski, who had eliminated top-seeded Marat Safin in the quarterfinals.

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