Federer Drought Ends With 5th U.S. Open Title

by John on September 9, 2008

It was a day late due to Tropical Storm Hanna, but it was definitely worth the wait for Roger Federer. The Swiss Maestro won his fifth straight U.S. Open title yesterday, downing No. 6-seed Andy Murray 6-2, 7-5, 6-2 in a match delayed a day because of Saturday’s rain-interrupted semifinal between Murray and Rafael Nadal. The victory was especially sweet for Federer, who by his standards, has had a very disappointing season. Federer lost in the semifinals at the Australian Open earlier in the year and then suffered defeats to Nadal in the finals at the French Open and Wimbledon. “I felt like I was invincible for a while again,” said Federer, who stretched his U.S. Open winning streak to 34 matches. Indeed, the Swiss Maestro’s win yesterday was typically Federeresque. Dominant and decisive. A virtuoso performance. Federer had won only two minor tournaments this year coming into Flushing Meadows and had lost his No. 1 ranking to Nadal on Aug. 18. His reign of 237 consecutive weeks at the top was over. The threat of not winning a major championship for the first time since 2002 was very real. Not anymore. The win Monday was Federer’s 13th Grand Slam title, one short of tying Pete Sampras’ record. “One thing is for sure,” Federer said. “I’m not going to stop at 13. That would be terrible.” In reaching a major final for the first time, Murray has joined the elite. The top three is no more. Nadal, Federer, Novak Djokovic and the 21-year-old Scotsman are now the big four in men’s tennis. Clearly a level above the rest. “I’m sure we’re going to see much more of Andy in the future,” said Federer. With two ATP Masters Series tournaments scheduled this fall and the Masters Cup in Shanghai in November, Federer can do more than just salvage his season. He can re-establish his dominance, if not on the computer, at least in the minds of his opponents. You won’t get any argument from Murray on that. “I came up against, in my opinion, the best player to ever play the game,” said Murray, now No. 4 in the world. “He definitely set the record straight today.” I see several more Grand Slam titles in Federer’s future, maybe more. Even a return to No. 1 is not out of the question.

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