On this day: Roger Federer downs Fernando Gonzalez to claim tenth Major crown


On this day: Roger Federer downs Fernando Gonzalez to claim tenth Major crown
On this day: Roger Federer downs Fernando Gonzalez to claim tenth Major crown

Establishing his authority on the ATP Tour in 2004, Roger Federer had been the player to beat for four straight years, reaching the level that was unseen in the history of men's tennis or at least in the Open era! Federer won 92 out of 97 matches in 2006, conquering eight out of nine tournaments played after Roland Garros and setting the bar too high for all of his competitors, including his closest rival Rafael Nadal.

Roger arrived in Melbourne in January 2007 as the clear favorite to defend the title won 12 months ago, toppling all the challengers in straight sets to lift his tenth Grand Slam crown in his seventh consecutive Major final, all at the age of 25!

Also, this was the first Grand Slam crown that the Swiss won without losing a set, becoming the first player since Bjorn Borg who achieved that back in 1980 and the only in history who managed to do that on the hard court!

Federer had to topple four top-15 players in the latter stages, defeating Novak Djokovic, Tommy Robredo, Andy Roddick, and Fernando Gonzalez to emerge as a deserved winner and celebrate for the third time at Melbourne Park in the last four years.

In the semis, Roger dismantled Roddick and delivered some excellent tennis against the Chilean Fernando Gonzalez in the title match too, winning it 7-6, 6-4, 6-4 in two hours and 20 minutes. It was one of the best tournaments in a career for Gonzalez, doing his best to stay in touch with a mighty opponent as long as possible and saving seven out of ten break points he faced.

Fernando had a great chance to win at least a set, serving for the opener at 5-4 and squandering two set points at 40-15! Roger kept the focus to fend them off and break back, taking the set in the tie break to gain the momentum before the rest of the encounter where he had the upper hand.

One break of serve in each of the next two sets was all he needed to cross the finish line and complete the fortnight in style, continuing his amazing Grand Slam run that already made him one of the best players of all time.

The Swiss star was in the league of his own in service games, dropping just 17 points in the entire clash and facing that one break point that Gonzalez converted to grab the advantage in the opener. On the other hand, Roger's return was a top notch as well, stealing 40% of the points in Fernando's games to create ten break chances, converting one in each set to control the scoreboard and seal the deal in straight sets.

Almost nothing could separate them in the shortest points, as they both dictated the exchanges with good serves and an initial groundstroke, mainly from a forehand, with things becoming more different with every additional shot in the rally.

Namely, Federer had a clear edge in the mid-range points and an even bigger one in those that saw ten strokes or more, engineering them in a far superior way in comparison to Fernando and covering the net with his usual accuracy to outplay the rival with a mixture of excellent shots from all over the court.

After eight solid holds on both sides, Gonzalez drew first blood in game nine when he broke to serve for the set in the next game. A service winner gave him two set points but it wasn't to be for him, with the nerves starting to show up.

Roger broke back with a backhand down the line winner, earning four set points on the return at 6-5 that the Chilean repelled all to reach the tie break where he couldn't perform a complete comeback, losing it 7-2 after a cracking crosscourt forehand winner from Federer.

They stayed neck and neck in the first six games of the second set before Roger broke at 15 to take a 4-3 lead, clinching the set with an ace on the T line in game ten for a 6-4. The seventh game proved to be crucial in set number three as well when Federer converted his fourth break point with a volley winner to move in front, wrapping up the win with a beautiful backhand down the line winner at 5-4 to conclude the fantastic two weeks in Melbourne and become the sixth player in history with ten Grand Slam titles.

Roger Federer Fernando Gonzalez Australian Open