Top-ranked Lleyton Hewitt closed in on a second straight Masters Cup title Saturday by beating Roger Federer, 7-5, 5-7, 7-5, in the semifinals.
Hewitt, already assured the year-end No. 1 ranking for the second consecutive season, faced French Open runner-up Juan Carlos Ferrero in today's final. Ferrero beat Carlos Moya, 6-7 (6), 6-4, 6-4, in a baseline exchange between Spaniards.
Hewitt clinched the top ranking Thursday. The Wimbledon champion qualified for the semifinals when Moya beat Albert Costa on Friday.
Hewitt struggled against his Swiss opponent, sealing the match on his fourth match point.
"I hate to lose; I don't know how else to put it," Hewitt said. "That competitive spirit just keeps you going. It was very close, which probably made it more interesting than the tennis."
Federer served for the first set at 5-3, but Hewitt broke serve and won four straight games.
Hewitt's first match point came in the 10th game of the second set, but Federer broke serve and went on to tie the match. In the third set, Hewitt broke in the ninth game and served for the match. But Federer broke serve.
Federer double-faulted the last two points of the 11th game, and Hewitt took a 6-5 lead. Federer fought off another match point before Hewitt sealed the victory and a spot in the final.
In the other semifinal, Moya lost his serve in the sixth game, but Ferrero double-faulted at break point in the ninth game.
A forehand error by Moya gave Ferrero a set point at 6-5 in the tiebreaker, but a crosscourt forehand was called wide -- a call Ferrero questioned. When he pounded a backhand long on the next point, Moya had a set point and won it with an ace.
Ferrero was the steadier player in the next two sets, with Moya's big forehand occasionally going astray.
The final service break came in the seventh game of the third set on Ferrero's crosscourt forehand pass. He lost only three points in his next two service games.
"I think I played a great match and there were a few points that could have changed the match," Moya said. "But against Ferrero you have to play 100 percent all the time and a few moments I didn't. That was the key of the match."