Wimbledon Flashback: Roger Federer fires 74 winners and tops Andy Roddick



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Wimbledon Flashback: Roger Federer fires 74 winners and tops Andy Roddick

A year after winning the junior singles title, Roger Federer made his Wimbledon debut in 1999. The youngster lost in the opening round in two first visits to the All England Club and changed that in 2001. The upcoming talent stunned the seven-time champion, Pete Sampras, in five thrilling sets in the fourth round before losing to Tim Henman in the quarter-final.

Marion Ancic surprised Roger in the opening round in 2002, and the Swiss returned stronger a year later. On July 4, 2003, Federer defeated Andy Roddick in the Wimbledon semi-final and advanced into the first Major final at 21.

Roger beat Andy 7-6, 6-3, 6-3 in one of the most important matches in their early careers, prevailing in the opener and storming over the American in sets two and three for a place in the final. Federer needed an hour and 43 minutes to overpower Roddick with mind-blowing tennis after the opener.

Roger was the favorite, and he presented pinnacle grass-court tennis, hitting over 70 winners and committing just 20 unforced errors to leave Roddick without an answer. Andy failed to convert a set point in the closing stages of the opening set, and he could not follow the rival's strong pace in the rest of the clash.

Federer was more aggressive, coming to the net often and playing riskier groundstrokes to keep the points on his racquet. Roger tamed his strokes nicely to keep the errors under control and stay in touch with Andy in that segment.

The Swiss did a lot of damage with his sharp and precise serve and blasted 34 service winners in comaprison to Roddick's 25. Federer rushed forward every time he would land the first serve in while smartly opting to stay on the baseline on the second serve.

Roger flew over the court and covered the court beautifully, anticipating well and reading the rival's patterns with ease. Andy hit only seven groundstroke winners and forced Roger's 15 mistakes. Federer landed 17 winners from his forehand alone and 23 more from the field to build the advantage.

There were only 13 rallies with nine strokes or more, and they stayed neck and neck. Roger was more efficient in the shortest and mid-range exchanges and earned his triumph in those areas. The Swiss dropped only 17 points behind the initial shot to keep the pressure on the other side.

Federer fended off two break chances at the start of the second set and grabbed three breaks of serve to control the pace and sail into the title clash. They had a similar number of unforced and forced errors, and Roger created a massive advantage in the winners department.

He blasted 74 in comparison to the rival's 45 to deserve the final spot. The encounter kicked off with ten-stroke exchanges, and Roddick claimed them to wrap up the game and add his name to the scoreboard. Federer held with three service winners in game two and created the first break chance in the next one with a forehand winner.

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

Andy denied it and closed the game with a smash for 2-1. Roger landed four winners in game six for 3-3, and his rival painted three direct points from the field in the next one to move in front again.

The Swiss secured the eighth game with four service winners and extended the set with another fine hold at 4-5. Federer hit three winners in the 12th game to introduce a tie break. Roger made a mini-break in the first point after taking a 14-stroke rally, and Andy got it back immediately to erase the deficit.

Federer jumped 4-2 ahead after another mini-break before Roddick claimed the following three points to grab the advantage. The American earned a set point at 6-5 after another great return and sent a routine forehand into the net, which would prove to be one of the most critical points of the entire clash.

Roger created his first set point after another deep return and brought the set home with a service winner in the 14th point for 8-6. The second set's first game was the only problematic one for Federer behind the serve.

The Swiss denied the first break point with a forehand volley winner and erased the second with a powerful serve to avoid an early setback. Roddick saved two break chances in game two before squandering a game point. Roger earned the third break chance and seized it with a forehand winner that sent him 2-0 in front.

The Swiss cemented the break with three winners in game three, and everything suddenly became much easier for him. Both players served well until the end of the set, and Federer controlled the points in his service games superbly to stay in front.

Roger fired 12 winners in the last 12 points on serve and left Andy without any chance of making a turnaround. Federer wrapped up the set on his serve in game nine to open two sets to love lead and move closer to the finish line.

The third set started with four easy holds on both sides, although that was about to change soon. Federer landed three winners in game five to create a break point and converted it after Roddick's careless backhand slice that introduced writings on the wall for the American.

There were three winners from each in the next couple of games, and Roger moved 5-3 in front with three more direct points in game eight, his eighth commanding in a row on serve. Andy served to stay in the match in the next one, and Roger overpowered again.

The Swiss blasted four winners to create a match point and seized it after the American's error to move through to his maiden Major final at 21.