HALLE, Germany (AP)—Lleyton Hewitt upset Roger Federer for the first time in 16 matches to win the Gerry Weber Open title on Sunday.
The 29-year-old Australian won 3-6, 7-6 (4), 6-4 in his first final of the season. Hewitt last beat Federer in 2003.
“It’s fantastic,” Hewitt said. “Roger is a hell of an opponent and everybody knows how good he is on the grass court. His record speaks for itself.”
Top-seeded Federer, who was chasing his sixth title in Halle, had won his previous 29 matches at the Wimbledon warm-up tournament. It was Hewitt’s first appearance at Germany’s only grass court tournament.
After cruising through the previous four rounds without dropping a single set, Federer met his match in the challenge between two former No. 1s.
The Swiss started strongly and earned two breaks on Hewitt’s first service game and appeared set to make light work of his sixth Halle final, taking the first set 6-3.
But Hewitt broke early in the second set, confirming he was willing to make a fight of it.
Federer broke back immediately and the game followed serve. Hewitt won the tiebreaker, converting his fourth set point to level the match and becoming the first player to take a set off Federer in Halle since 2006.
The final set belonged to the Australian, who broke again in Federer’s first service game. Hewitt took his first match point with a bit of luck as the ball clipped the top of the net to end Federer’s domination in Halle.
“Roger is a great player and a great champion and every time you step on court against him, you are the underdog on every surface,” Hewitt said. “(But) it doesn’t matter how big a favorite you are. He still only has two arms and two legs.”
Federer will return to Switzerland for a few days before going after a seventh title at Wimbledon, which starts June 21.
Federer said he remained confident.
“I was unfortunate not to come through today, but the loss here does not worry me in any way,” Federer said. “I thought it was a good tournament for me. I have got to ensure I draw the right conclusions for Wimbledon.”