Starting the 2005 season as the best player in the world, Roger Federer lost the Australian Open to Marat Safin who defeated him in five thrilling sets in the semi-final. Roger didn't have any problems in other tournaments played in the first five months, winning the seventh ATP title in Hamburg in May and advancing into the semi-final at Roland Garros.
Rafael Nadal took him down in four sets and Roger was back on the winning way on grass, defending the title in Halle and dreaming about the same Wimbledon scenario. In the first round at the All England Club, Federer ousted Paul-Henri Mathieu in an hour and 50 minutes to set the clash against Ivo Minar, the Czech who had pushed him to the limits in February in Dubai.
At Wimbledon, Federer was the clear favorite, scoring a 6-4, 6-4, 6-1 triumph in an hour and 22 minutes for the place in the third round.
Landing 75% of the first serve in, Federer dropped 14 points in 14 service games, fending off both break points to mount the pressure on the other side of the net.
"I played consistent tennis, not facing break points. I had to wait for my chances on the return in the opening two sets and they came in the crucial moments. Then, I made an early break in the third set and that gave me the momentum.
It was tough to battle against Minar from the baseline; he was hitting hard and it wasn't easy to hang in there. He felt the pressure at the end of the first set, going for wrong shots. I wish I could have created more chances earlier in sets one and two but it all came out nicely.
When we played in Dubai, I didn't know him at all and I was struggling. I couldn't do much from the baseline and I had to rush to the net and shorten the points. I knew it would be different today and I was waiting for my chances.
During the match, I try to understand what has been going on and how I should play. Instead of checking my rival too much, I'm focused on my own game. Marat Safin showed how good he can play on grass in Halle; I had a tough match against him in the final.
His draw here at Wimbledon wasn't easy and he has gained confidence after beating two strong rivals. It's a good year for him so far. He is relaxed after that knee injury, having nothing to lose. He could have been two sets to love down against Philippoussis, finding the best tennis when it mattered the most.
If I get a chance to play against Lleyton Hewitt, that would mean we are both in good shape. I have beaten him in the last couple of matches and that gives me confidence. Tony Roche has brought different angles to my game and that helps me.
Playing with him on the practice court helps me a lot." The Czech tried to stay in touch in the opening two sets, getting broken in the decisive moments to fade away from the court in the third and push Roger Federer through.
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