Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Federer wins fifth US Open in a row for 13th Slam crown

Roger Federer won his 13th Grand Slam crown and fifth consecutive US Open title on Monday, defeating British sixth seed Andy Murray 6-2, 7-5, 6-2 to move one Slam title shy of the all-time record.

Federer's 56th career crown moved him into sole possession of second place on the all-time Slam title list, one more than Roy Emerson and one below the career record 14 won by Pete Sampras.

After losing this year's Wimbledon and French Open finals and his number one ranking to Spain's Rafael Nadal, Federer's aura of invincibility had dimmed but his US Open title served notice he still remains a force in tennis.

Federer became the first man to win five Slams in a row at two different events, having also completed the feat last year at Wimbledon. No one had won five US titles in a row since Bill Tilden in 1924.

Swiss second seed Federer stretched his US Open match win streak to 34, his last loss at Flushing Meadows coming to David Nalbandian in the fourth round of 2003, and took home the top prize of 1.5 million dollars.

It was Federer's 17th Slam final, two shy of Ivan Lendl's all-time mark. It took Federer 38 Slam appearances to win his 13th Slam, five fewer than Sampras
needed to reach the same total.

Federer had not won a prior hardcourt title all year. The last player to make the US Open his first hardcourt crown of a season was Sampras in 2002 for his last Slam crown.

Murray, playing in his first Slam final, had won two of three prior matches with Federer but was outclassed to bring a disappointing end to a run that will see him rise to fourth in the rankings, matching the best-ever British mark.

Federer, 27, thrilled a sellout crowd of 23,763 at Arthur Ashe Stadium in the first US Open final since 1987 pushed to Monday by bad weather. It was the first Monday men's Slam final since Goran Ivanisevic won at Wimbledon in 2001.

Murray, who took one million dollars, would have been the first British man to win a Slam since Fred Perry at the 1936 US Open and the first British Slam champion of either sex since Virginia Wade won in 1977 at Wimbledon.

Murray's loss was the fifth for a British man in a Slam final since Perry's triumph, including Greg Rusedski at the 1997 US Open, John Lloyd at the 1977 Australian Open and Bunny Austin at the 1937 French Open and 1938 Wimbledon.

Federer broke Murray in the sixth and eighth games of the match to win the first set in 27 minutes. He broke Murray again in the second game of the second set but Murray broke back at love in the next game and the fight was joined.

Murray went to 0-40 on Federer's serve in the fifth game of the second set but Federer denied the Scotsman and the two traded holds of serve until the last game, which Federer finished with three winners to break for the set.

Federer broke Murray's first two service games at love in the third set and, after surrendering a break when he was serving two points from the title, broke him again in the last game on his third overhead smash of the point.

Murray sent the ball into the net after one hour and 51 minutes and Federer fell to his knees and then rolled onto his back, overcome with the moment as he screamed his joy before rising and raising his hands in a salute to the crowd.