Roger Federer was the man on a mission at Wimbledon 2003. He won his first ATP title on grass in Halle a few weeks earlier and remained the highest seed in his part of the draw when Lleyton Hewitt experienced an early exit.
The Swiss ousted his first three rivals in five hours, losing a set and gaining boost for the second week that saw a major scare for the youngster on the practice court. Hurting his back before the clash against Feliciano Lopez, Roger barely survived the opener before starting to play better, sealing the deal in straight sets and beating injured Sjeng Schalken to find himself in the semis at Majors for the first time.
There, Federer met Andy Roddick and produced a marvelous 7-6, 6-3, 6-3 victory in an hour and 43 minutes for the place in the final. Roddick gave his best in the opening set, saving a break point and forging a 6-5 lead in the tie break, only to squander a set point after a loose forehand, the one 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.
Roger had more than 70 winners and only 35 mistakes in total, doing everything right on the court and reaching the title match in style. "I knew I was capable of reaching the Major final but I had to work hard to get there, like all the other players.
People were talking about that when I beat Sampras here but it was a tough road in the next couple of years. I have been at Wimbledon for two and a half weeks, which is unusual for me, having more days off and not so tough matches.
Physically, I'm fine after losing just one set so far and I hope to carry the momentum into the final. 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."