In 2001, Roger Federer was the quarter-finalist at Roland Garros and Wimbledon at 19, losing steam at Majors in the next couple of years and making no further steps in the next two years. Following a tough loss at the All England Club to Mario Ancic in the first round of 2002, Federer returned stronger a year later to reach his first Major semi-final.
The Swiss overcame back problems against Feliciano Lopez in the fourth round, beating Sjeng Schalken in the quarters in straight sets to advance into his first semi-final at this level, battling against Andy Roddick for the place in the title match.
In one of his best performances before those dominant years, Roger scored a 7-6, 6-3, 6-3 victory in an hour and 43 minutes, moving one win away from tennis glory. Andy gave his best in the opening set but that wasn't enough to take it, spraying a terrible forehand error at 6-5 in the tie break that would have sent him in front.
Instead of that, Federer grabbed the last three points of the breaker to gain a massive boost, repelling two break chances at the beginning of the second set and never looking back. He scored three breaks to control the scoreboard, hitting 74 winners and 35 errors to leave Roddick far behind and earn another notable Wimbledon victory after that famous one over Pete Sampras from two years ago.
"For me, it's always tricky to compare matches to the one I played against Pete Sampras. I believe it will be hard to top that encounter because he was my favorite player, facing him on the Centre Court at the age of 19 and battling for five sets.
The emotions were so high and I couldn't believe it. Now, I play on the main courts almost always, and I'm more used to those big matches. Following that victory over Pete, I still wouldn't think about Major finals in the next couple of years, even though people were predicting that. I'm happy to achieve that and finally put those who didn't trust my game in the corners."