Roger Federer's unprecedented streak of ten consecutive Major finals had ended at the Australian Open 2008 when Novak Djokovic toppled him in the semis. Nonetheless, the Swiss was among the players to beat in the remaining three Majors of the season, extending his run to reach the final in 13 of the last 14 most prominent tournaments!
In August, Rafael Nadal ousted him in Paris and London to become world no. 1 and enter the US Open as the top seed. Nadal lost in the semi-final, while Roger went all the way for the fifth straight year, lifting his 13th Major crown and becoming the first player since Bill Tilden in the 1920s with five consecutive titles at this event!
The defending champion survived a massive scare against Igor Andreev, prevailing over the Russian 6-7, 7-6, 6-3, 3-6, 6-3 in three and a half hours to enter the quarters. The Swiss made 60 unforced errors in what had been a shaky performance from the New York's dominant figure, facing 15 break chances and repelling 13 of those to cross the finish line first.
Gilles Muller, the first qualifier in the US Open quarter-final since 1999, was Roger's next rival, and Federer needed two hours and 24 minutes to earn a 7-6, 6-4, 7-6 triumph in the match with a single break of serve!
Thus, Federer entered his 18th consecutive Major semi-final but only after a great battle, coming from a 5-3 down in the first tie break and converting his seventh set point to move ahead. He broke Gilles at 4-4 in the second set before more struggle in the third, with Muller leading 4-1 and 5-3 in the tie break before Federer closed the set and the match with four points in a row following the underdog's backhand error.
The semi-final clash against Novak Djokovic was the repeat of the last year's final and another stern test for Roger, who scored a 6-3, 5-7, 7-5, 6-2 victory in two hours and 44 minutes for a place in the title match against Andy Murray.
The Briton reached the first Major final in New York, going to hell and back to earn the spot there after ousting Juan Martin del Potro and Rafael Nadal in marathon encounters with not much strength left for the defending champion.
The youngster won two of their previous three matches against Roger but stood no chance in this one, losing 6-2, 7-5, 6-2 in an hour and 51 minutes in what had been another historic moment in Roger Federer's career. The nerves must have played a part in Andy's game as well, together with the fact he had one day less for recovery, completing his semi-final win over Nadal on Sunday.
Roger had 23 service winners and was the dominant figure in the first and third sets, placing his shots nicely and breaking Andy's defense with accurate attacks and net rushings. He had break points in eight different games, putting Andy under a lot of pressure and breaking him seven times from ten opportunities to keep the scoreboard on his side.
Roger Federer claimed the fifth US Open crown over Andy Murray in 2008.
Murray gave his best in the second set, winning just one point fewer than Roger but not doing enough to avoid straight-sets defeat on a Monday night, breaking Federer twice but dropping half of the points in his games to propel the Swiss towards the title.
Roger hit 36 winners against Andy's 16 and was superb at the net, winning 31 out of 44 points to keep the action on his racquet and move Murray away from the comfort zone. World no. 2 and the defending champion had an expected edge in the shortest rallies, outplaying Murray in the most extended exchanges and destroying the only chance for the Briton to make the difference and stay in touch with the more experienced rival.
Roger opened the match with four winners and earned his first break chance in game four when Andy landed a forehand long. Murray saved it with a good attack but failed to repeat that at 2-3, playing a loose forehand to push Federer in front.
The Swiss was rock-solid behind the initial shot, which allowed him to strike harder on the return, clinching the opening set in just 27 minutes after another break in game eight. Things went from bad to worse for the youngster, who lost serve again in the second set's second game following Roger's forehand winner, who won six games in a row.
Andy had to change the course of the match quickly if he wanted to stand any chance, managing to stop his downfall in game three after breaking back at love and returning to the positive side of the scoreboard. A solid hold in game four erased Murray's deficit, and this already looked much better for him than the entire first set.
Those couple of games were the worst ones for Federer in the entire encounter, dealing with three break points in the fifth game and fending them off with nice attacks before closing the game with another forehand winner to move 3-2 in front.
They both delivered comfortable holds in the next six games, and Murray had a slight edge on the court, cutting the number of errors and losing fewer points behind the initial shot. He served to stay in the set in game 12, and this was the perfect opportunity for Roger to speed up his game and avoid the tie break.
He broke at love with a forehand down the line winner to take the set 7-5 and build a massive advantage ahead of the third after just 80 minutes of play. As was expected, Murray lost his focus completely and got broken at love in the third set's second game after a loose forehand.
A backhand winner sent Roger 4-0 in front, showing the writings on the wall to his rival and racing towards a 5-0 lead in no time, serving for the title in game seven. With a massive advantage under his belt, Federer lost ground for a moment, allowing Andy to pull one break back after netting a backhand.
Murray saved a match point in game eight with an excellent volley, but Roger converted the second one after a solid smash, breaking his rival for the seventh time and delivering his fifth straight US Open crown, the last one of his career.