Young Roger Federer: 'I can handle Andy Roddick's serve'

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Young Roger Federer: 'I can handle Andy Roddick's serve'

Roger Federer was the man on a mission at Wimbledon 2003. The Swiss claimed his first ATP title on grass in Halle a few weeks earlier and remained the highest seed in his part of the draw at the All England Club when Lleyton Hewitt experienced an early exit.

Federer ousted his first three rivals in five hours, losing only a set and gaining a boost for the second week, which saw a major scare on the practice court for the youngster. Hurting his back before the clash against Feliciano Lopez, Roger barely survived the opener before starting to play better under painkillers, sealing the deal in straight sets and beating injured Sjeng Schalken to find himself in the semis at Majors for the first time.

Roger Federer beat Andy Roddick in straight sets at Wimbledon 2003.

Federer met Andy Roddick there and produced a marvelous 7-6, 6-3, 6-3 victory in an hour and 43 minutes to advance into the title clash. Feeling much better, Federer claimed a tight opening set and sailed towards the finish line after that, taming Roddick's serve nicely and moving into the final.

Andy gave his best in the opener, saving a break chance and forging a 6-5 lead in the tie break, only to squander a set point after a loose forehand that made him fading from the court in sets two and three. Federer stood strong in his games, repelling both break chances offered to the American at the beginning of the second set and earning three breaks to seal the deal in straight sets and take another big step towards the first Major title.

"I knew I was capable of reaching a Major final, but I had to work hard to get there. When I beat Sampras here at Wimbledon, people talked about that, but it was a tough road in the next couple of years. I felt like I can return Andy's serve; I said that in the press conference yesterday.

I'm not scared of his serves as I read them well; that makes him a bit frustrated. I had to keep the returns in and make him think about the next shot," Roger Federer said.