US Open 2007: Roger Federer edges Novak Djokovic for the 12th Major crown


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US Open 2007: Roger Federer edges Novak Djokovic for the 12th Major crown

Back in 2005 and 2006, Roger Federer had dominated the men's game like almost no one before him, losing just nine matches in total and standing as the main contender for almost every big title in the calendar. In 2007, his rivals managed to topple Roger nine times but he was still at the top of his game at Majors, winning Australian Open, Wimbledon and the US Open and losing in the Roland Garros final to Rafael Nadal for the second year in a row.

He was the player to beat during the summer, losing in Paris to Rafa and to Novak in Montreal but conquering Wimbledon and his 50th ATP crown at Cincinnati, heading the US Open as the top favorite after being victorious there in the past three seasons.

It was a rock solid start from Roger against Scoville Jankins and Paul Capdeville, winning the opening two matches in less than three hours and with one break suffered. World number 184 John Isner won the opening set in the third round against the great rival but Roger dominated in the rest of the match, scoring five breaks from nine chances to reach the last 16 where he also came from a set down against Feliciano Lopez, beating the Spaniard in just under two hours.

Lopez was 40-0 on the return at the start of the third set (he was broken in the 10th game of the second) and Federer took charge from there, rattling off 34 straight points on serve to gain the momentum, closing the match with a single break in the fourth set.

In the repeat of 2006 final, Federer defeated Andy Roddick 7-6 7-6 6-2 in two hours to enter the last four, saving the only break point he faced and breaking the American twice in the third set for straight sets win. Roddick stayed in touch in the opening two sets but his second serve let him down, unable to win the most important points and prolong the match.

The first set saw no break points and Roger grabbed the breaker with a backhand winner that gave him a mini-break and an ace in the 12th point. The first break point of the match came in the eighth game of the second set and Roger saved it with a service winner to stay on the positive side of the scoreboard and he claimed the tie break with a backhand return winner and another service winner in the final point.

From 2-2 in the third set, Federer took four games in a row to wrap up the win and set another semi-final clash against Nikolay Davydenko, just like in 2006. The match lasted two hours and 18 minutes and Roger clinched a 7-5 6-1 7-5 win for the place in the final.

The Russian was able to overpower the Swiss from the baseline, especially from his backhand side, and he created no less than 14 break points, stealing rival's serve five times. On the other hand, he had to play against 25 break chances and Roger converted nine to emerge as a winner in straight sets despite a great battle in sets one and three.

Nikolay led 3-1 with another break point in game five that could have sent him even higher in front. Roger saved that break point and he broke again in game 12 after a backhand mistake from the Russian to grab the opener 7-5.

Federer dominated in the second set but the battle was on again in the third, with Davydenko having a break on three occasions, unable to materialize any of those advantages! He wasted two set points on the return at 5-4 and Roger broke him in the following game to wrap up the win on won serve in game 12 to set the final meeting with the 20-year-old Novak Djokovic.

On September 9, Roger Federer had won his 12th Grand Slam title from 14 finals played, passing Bjorn Borg and Rod Laver on the eternal list and trailing just two behind Pete Sampras. The world number 1 took down Novak Djokovic 7-6 7-6 6-4 in two hours and 24 minutes, but only after saving five set points in the first and two more in the second set as Djokovic made him run for his money all the time! This was the 10th consecutive Grand Slam final for Roger (lost just two against Rafael Nadal at Roland Garros) and he claimed 12 out of the last 18 Majors starting from Wimbledon 2003! Federer had also become the first player in history who played in the final of all four Slams in back-to-back seasons and also the first one who grabbed Wimbledon and the US Open crowns in four consecutive seasons.

Besides that, the Swiss star was the first player with four US Open titles in a row since Bill Tilden in 1923. The championship match hadn't produced the tennis of the highest quality as they were both nervous, but at least the scoreboard was interesting from start to finish.

Federer had better percentages behind his serve but he had to play against nine break points, fending off seven of those to stay in contention, breaking Novak three times from five opportunities to seal the deal in straight sets.

Roger made the biggest difference in the shortest points up to four strokes and they were neck and neck in the mid-range exchanges and the longest ones. Federer had 35 service winners while Novak hit 33, and it was the first groundstroke after the initial shot that worked better from the Federer's racquet.

It was a very good start from both players, reaching 5-5 after just 33 minutes, and Novak was there to compete against the world's leading player from the past four seasons, controlling his serve and groundstrokes well to stay on the positive side of the scoreboard.

The Serb created his first break point in the 11th game and Roger saved it with a service winner, only to face another one after sending an easy forehand long. Djokovic delivered a break this time around after another poor forehand from Federer and the youngster served for the opening set in game 12, which would have meant a lot to him.

Three winners gave Novak three set points but he couldn't win that one crucial point and seal the set. Roger fends off the first with an amazing forehand winner and the other two when Novak missed two backhands, going back to deuce.

A service winner earned the fourth set point for the Serb but he missed another groundstroke to waste another chance for sealing the set. Roger forced an error from his rival on the fifth set point and he broke back after a costly double fault from Novak.

In the tie break, Djokovic was 3-2 up but he netted an easy backhand to lose the lead and he sent Roger in front with another double fault. The set was decided by yet another double fault from the 20-year-old who lost the breaker 7-4 even though he had so many opportunities to clinch it earlier.

Novak managed to leave the opener behind him and he pushed strong at the start of the second as well, creating two break points in the fourth game. He converted the second one when Roger's backhand volley landed long and a few minutes later it was 4-1, as he hit four winners in game five to confirm the break.

Roger held from deuce in game six and he broke back at love in the following game to reduce the deficit to 4-3, moving back to the positive side of the scoreboard and gaining the momentum. Both players served great in the next four games and Roger had to serve to stay in the set in game 12.

Just like in the opening set he was 15-40 down, facing two set points but keeping his coolness, saving the first with an ace and the second when Novak's forehand landed well behind the baseline. Federer closed the game with two winners, boosting his game before the tie break and he grabbed it 7-2 with a magical backhand down the line winner to open up a huge advantage.

Despite missing colossal chances to take both of the opening two sets, Novak was still in the match and he had three break points in the fifth game of the third set. He let all of them slip away from his hands and he would never get a new one until the end of the match.

Roger found a good rhythm in his games after that and he was 5-4 in front, forcing Djokovic to serve to stay in the match. Novak had a game point but he couldn't bring the game home, double faulting to give Federer a match point and saving it with a brave forehand winner.

Nonetheless, the Swiss got another one after a loose backhand from Novak and he took this one when Djokovic's drop shot failed to reach the net, falling to the ground in a big celebration of his 12th Major crown. ALSO READ: U21 Race to Milan: 16 youngsters seek glory in New York, led by Zverev