Federer wins third straight Wimbledon title

Roger Federer strengthened his claim to greatness on Sunday, winning his third consecutive Wimbledon title by beating Andy Roddick 6-2, 7-6 (2), 6-4.

With an impeccable performance, even by his high standards, the top-ranked Federer became the third man since 1936 to win three straight Wimbledon crowns, joining seven-time champion Pete Sampras and five-time winner Bjorn Borg.

“Nice group,” Federer said during the trophy ceremony. “Sampras was one of my favourite players of all time. Borg, what you can you say about him, he’s just fantastic.

“I hope it’s not going to stop with three. Maybe one day I’ll win a fourth one, but this one is already very, very great.”

Federer defeated the second-seeded Roddick at Wimbledon for the third year in a row, including the past two finals, and leads the rivalry 9-1. Roddick is 32-0 against everyone else on grass since 2003.

“Pity for him,” Federer said, “but I really did play my best.”

Federer won his 21st consecutive final and improved to 5-0 in Grand Slam finals. The 23-year-old Swiss became the first man since Tony Trabert in 1953-55 to win his first five major finals.

On championship point Federer hit a service winner, then screamed with joy, fell to his knees, rolled onto his back and covered his face with his hands. He rose and met Roddick with a hug, then raised his arms to the cheering crowd, tears in his eyes.

Federer finished with 49 winners and just 12 unforced errors, an astounding ratio. During the trophy ceremony, Roddick wryly acknowledged he wasn’t in the mood to talk about being overmatched.

“I’m more in the mood for a beer right now,” he said, prompting cheers from the Centre Court crowd. “I couldn’t have asked more of myself. I put in all the work, and I wanted to win this so badly.

This guy is the best for a reason and he really deserves a lot of credit. ... Maybe I’ll just punch him or something.”

It’s not just the rivalry with Roddick that underscores Federer’s superiority. In the semifinals, he easily beat number two-ranked Lleyton Hewitt for the eighth time in a row.

A rain delay after the second set slowed Federer for only 25 minutes in his pursuit of the title. He has won 36 consecutive matches on grass, including 21 at Wimbledon, since losing to Mario Ancic in the first round here in 2002.

Also winning a third title at the All England Club was Venus Williams, who overcame a championship point to beat top-ranked Lindsay Davenport in the women’s final Saturday.

Federer’s victory ended a brief Grand Slam slump. He won three major titles last year, then lost this year in the semifinals of the Australian Open and French Open.

As usual, Federer won with a mixture of precision and power. On one point he placed his serve on a line, hit his second shot on another line, then slammed an overhead winner. He hit 11 aces.

At the net, he made even difficult volleys look easy. During one exchange from close range, Roddick rifled three consecutive shots at Federer, who casually responded with graceful volleys, the third a winner.

Only Roddick’s big serve kept things close. He had little chance in baseline rallies and tried coming forward, but Federer happily accepted the invitation to tee off on passing shots, hitting 16 for winners.

As Federer pulled away, there were shouts of “Come on, Andy!” from fans eager for a more competitive match.

Federer refused to cooperate, saving several of his most spectacular shots for the seventh game of the final set, when he broke for a 4-3 lead. Three passing shots won points, and he smacked one return so hard it sailed between the legs of an onrushing Roddick. Reaching behind him, Roddick somehow managed to block the ball back, but Federer put away his next shot.

Roddick stayed even only until the match’s sixth game, when he made the mistake of hitting an overhead back to Federer, who yanked it crosscourt for a winner. That gave the Swiss a break point, which he converted.

Federer broke again to take the first set. After winning 20 of his first 21 service points, he was broken for the only time and fell behind 3-1 in the second set.

Federer broke back for 3-all. Roddick overcame two set points serving at 4-5, but in the tiebreaker he quickly fell behind, and when the deficit reached 5-2, he slammed his racket to the grass.

He shouldn’t have been so hard on himself: In the first two sets, Federer hit 33 winners with just three unforced errors.

Federer improved to 7-1 in tiebreakers against Roddick, who has won one of 10 sets in their three Wimbledon showdowns.

For his 30th career title, Federer received 630 000 British pounds ($1 115 100). Roddick settled for 315 000 pounds ($557 550). - Sapa-AP

Client Media Releases

SA political parties talk foreign policy
Barloworld announces new group structure
Should I stay or should I grow?
Use Microsoft's eDiscovery for non-Office 365 data sources