Roger Federer wins record fifteenth grand slam title

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The Independent Online

Roger Federer survived another epic final to win his sixth Wimbledon and record 15th grand slam title against a gallant Andy Roddick today.



Federer held his nerve in an amazing fifth set to seal a remarkable 5-7 7-6 (8/6) 7-6 (7/5) 3-6 16-14 victory on Centre Court as Roddick's brave resistance was finally broken.

It was the third year in succession Federer had been taken to five sets in the final, having beaten Rafael Nadal in 2007 and losing to the same player in 2008.

And the records tumbled as Roddick somehow successfully held serve 10 times to remain in the match in the deciding set, the 77 total games easily eclipsing the previous record of 62 for a final from 12 months ago.

The 30 games in the final set also surpassed the previous highest of 24, although Federer's 50 aces was just one short of the Wimbledon record held by Ivo Karlovic.

Roddick was a massive underdog going into the match, having lost 18 of his 20 previous matches with Federer, who was seeking a sixth victory at the All England Club and record 15th grand slam title.

Watched by the man with whom he currently shares the record, Pete Sampras taking his place in the Royal Box after the first three games of the set, Federer had looked in control in the early stages.

But Roddick crucially saved four break points in the 11th game - Federer making several unsuccessful challenges on close line calls - before then breaking Federer in the next game to snatch the set 7-5.

That was just the second set Federer had lost in the tournament and he looked certain to lose another when he trailed 6-2 in the second set tie-break.

Roddick had four set points, the first on his own serve, but Federer saved it with a backhand winner and then took the next two on his own serve to make it 6-5.

Roddick had one last chance but swatted a high backhand volley well wide, and Federer pounced to take the next two points - making it six in a row - to snatch the tie-break 8-6 and level the scores.

The momentum had switched firmly in Federer's favour and the world number two was in dominant form on his serve throughout the third set, dropping just two points.

But to Roddick's credit, the former US Open champion refused to buckle after the crushing disappointment of losing the second set and saved the only break point of the set in the sixth game.

It all meant another tie-break and this time it was Federer who stormed into a big lead, punishing Roddick whenever he missed a first serve and taking a 5-2 lead.

Roddick took three of the next four points to make it 6-5 but Federer held his nerve, putting away a forehand winner after an excellent serve to take it 7-5 and a two-sets-to-one lead.

Roddick could have been forgiven for letting his head drop after going behind, but came out for the fourth set in determined mood.

He forged two break points in the fourth game and although Federer saved the first with an ace, the Swiss star had no answer to a Roddick backhand on the second.

Roddick consolidated the break to go 4-1 ahead and Federer now had to find a way to break Roddick's serve for the first time in the match to avoid being taken to a deciding set.

However, Federer was guilty of playing too cautiously at times - as Andy Murray had been against Roddick in the semi-finals - and Roddick recovered from 0-30 down in the ninth game to take the set 6-3 and set up a fifth set.

It was the third year in succession Federer had been taken to five sets in the Wimbledon final, having beaten Rafael Nadal in 2007 and losing to the same player 12 months later.

He at least had the advantage of serving first in the decider and forced Roddick to save a break point in the second game, the only one in the first 16 games.

Finally Roddick created two break points at 8-8, effectively championship points the way he was serving, but Federer recovered from 15-40 down to keep his nose in front.

Records continued to tumble as Roddick amazingly successfully served 10 times to remain in the match, but finally the pressure told.

A forehand error gave Federer his first match point and he forced the American into hitting another forehand off the frame of the racket to finally seal a remarkable 5-7 7-6 7-6 3-6 16-14 victory and record 15th grand slam title.

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