Roger Federer claimed his first Major title at Wimbledon 2003. The Swiss dominated over the rest of the field and dropped one set in seven encounters to join the tennis immortals. Missing a chance to become world no. 1 in Montreal and Cincinnati, Roger headed to the US Open as one of the favorites.
Federer sought the second consecutive Major crown and his first notable result in New York after early exits in the previous years. Roger scored wins over Jose Acasuso and Jean-Rene Lisnard in the opening two encounters. Federer faced James Blake in the third round and defeated the American 6-3, 7-6, 6-3 in two hours to find himself in the last 16.
The Swiss fended off three out of four break chances and created no less than 23 opportunities on the return. Roger seized only three, still enough to seal the deal in straight sets. The first break came in the opener's eighth game when James sent a backhand wide, allowing Roger to close the set with a forehand winner a few minutes later.
Federer led 5-3 in set number two but could not clinch it before the tie break, as Blake broke back to extend the battle. Still, Roger had the upper hand in the tie break, winning it 7-4 and sealing the deal with another break in set number three to arrange the meeting with David Nalbandian.
Roger Federer was in contention for the second straight Major title in 2003.
"I do not know how many break chances I missed. I know I had many, especially in the second set. In the past, there were probably some matches with a similar number of wasted break points; that happens.
When you miss the first couple of opportunities, the rival starts to serve better, and it becomes tougher to break. I always felt in control in set number two, having the advantage before James climbed back to reach a tie break.
We did not have the rhythm in the opening set, with many fast points. I did not feel good, especially initially, struggling to find the grip in the cold night session. It took us a while, and I started playing better at the end of the set, scoring a break and closing it.
The second set was excellent for both of us, and I'm happy with my overall performance. My next rival is David Nalbandian, and I do not have a great record against him. I'm positive ahead of our upcoming clash; it's time for me to beat him after being close a couple of times.
I'm ready to fight. I'm happy with my return tonight, while I still have ups and downs on serve. Still, it's so far so good for me; we will see. I'm much more relaxed after winning Wimbledon, not thinking about the first Major title anymore," Roger Federer said.