Roger Federer recalls: 'I can not find rhythm, but I'm doing my best'

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Roger Federer recalls: 'I can not find rhythm, but I'm doing my best'

Roger Federer won his first Major crown at Wimbledon 2003 and became a contender for the ATP throne. The Swiss could have become world no. 1 in Montreal, Cincinnati and the US Open, but he missed those chances and started all over during the indoor fall season.

Roger won the title in Vienna and entered the Madrid Masters 1000 event a week later, seeking another deep run and more points on his tally in the year-end no. 1 battle with Andy Roddick and Juan Carlos Ferrero. The Swiss took down Alex Corretja 6-4, 6-3 in 70 minutes for a winning start.

In the second encounter, Federer defeated Mardy Fish 6-3, 7-6 in an hour and 32 minutes to reach the quarters. Roger served at only 50% but fended off two out of three break chances to keep the pressure on the other side.

Roger Federer prevailed over Feliciano Lopez in the 2003 Madrid Masters semis.

The American gave his best to stay in touch, but his second serve let him down to propel the rival into the next round.

Federer had to work hard in a 4-6, 7-6, 6-4 triumph over Feliciano Lopez in two hours and 16 minutes in the quarter-final. The Swiss won four points more than the Spaniard, suffering one break in the opener and delivering his only successful return game in the decider to prevail and stay on the title course.

Lopez had the opportunity to beat Federer in straight sets. He repelled 11 out of 12 break chances but fell short in the second set tie break to keep Roger into contention. Federer earned a single break in the decider and served well to emerge at the top and find himself in the semis.

Those were essential points in Roger's year-end no. 1 quest, and he faced a direct rival, Juan Carlos Ferrero, in the semi-final. "I would have loved to win the match more easily, but you can not do much about that.

I played one poor service game with two double faults, despite knowing how Feliciano would play. I just hung in there, avoiding straight sets defeat and giving everything I had to prevail. I can not say much about our Wimbledon match; I was injured and did not play at my 100%.

I still can not find the rhythm here in Madrid; the ball flies quickly, and it's not easy to control the rallies or return. Feliciano's first serve is big; he is a lefty and slices a lot; it's not easy to play against him.

I knew this was a big match regarding my year-end no. 1 chance. Tomorrow, I play against another contender Juan Carlos Ferrero, and I hope to beat him. I have seen a bit of him this week. He was not missing too much, and I will have to serve well and play aggressive tennis while waiting for a short ball from him," Roger Federer said.