After switching from green to blue surface in 2005, the US Open brought another innovation in 2006 when it became the first Major tournament to use the Hawk-Eye system. It was also the farewell event for the last year's finalist Andre Agassi and another dominant run for Roger Federer, who became the first player since Ivan Lendl in 1987 with three consecutive US Open crowns.
The Swiss was the leading figure on the Tour in the previous two years and didn't fail to impress in 2006, conquering 12 ATP titles and winning 92 out of 97 matches, suffering four defeats to Rafael Nadal and one against Andy Murray, none since Cincinnati in August!
Roger was the favorite at the US Open and he didn't disappoint, dropping two sets in seven encounters for 20 straight wins at the last Major of the season. Jimmy Wang, Tim Henman, Vincent Spadea and Marc Gicquel were all ranked outside the top-60 and stood no chance against world no.
1 in the opening four rounds, with Roger shaping his form for the more serious contenders in the latter rounds. James Blake was among them, battling hard for two hours and 45 minutes before Roger prevailed 7-6, 6-0, 6-7, 6-4 for the tenth consecutive Major semi-final.
Blake broke Federer twice when Roger served for the win in the third set to extend the encounter, fending off a match point in the tie break to stay on the court for another set. The American had chances for a much better result, wasting three set points in the opening set tie break and the opportunity to move 2-0 ahead in set number four, squandering three break points in the second game.
Nikolay Davydenko managed to break Roger twice in the semis, although it wasn't enough for at least a set, losing 6-1, 7-5, 6-4 to propel Federer into the title match, the record-breaking sixth in a row at Majors! The first set was over in just 21 minutes and Roger was the only player on the court, with the Russian bouncing back in sets two and three from a break down, only to lose focus in the closing stages to send Roger through.
In the battle for the trophy, Federer defeated Andy Roddick 6-2, 4-6, 7-5, 6-1 in two hours and 25 minutes on September 10 to claim his ninth Major crown from ten finals, suffering the only defeat a few months earlier at Roland Garros against Nadal!
It was their 12th meeting and the 11th triumph for Roger, who fended off six out of eight break chances to keep the pressure on the champion from three years ago who cracked down under it despite a great effort in sets two and three.
Federer won 43% of the return points to create 16 break chances, converting six to secure the triumph and move ahead of Jimmy Connors and Ivan Lendl who stayed on eight Majors, becoming the first player with three consecutive Wimbledon-US Open crowns.
The American had 32 service winners in comparison to 27 from Roger, but the Swiss was just too good in the rallies, firing bullets from both wings to topple his rival in the shortest, mid-range and the most extended exchanges.
In 2006, Roger Federer conquered the ninth Major crown at the US Open.
It was a perfect start for Roger, firing a forehand down the line winner in game two for a break and an early momentum and overcoming a tough third game with a service winner and bringing it home with another good forehand to open up a 3-0 lead.
More troubles for Andy waited just around the corner, unable to control a volley and falling 4-0 behind after only 15 minutes for the worst start of the clash. An ace down the T line pushed Roger 5-0 in front before Roddick finally got his name on the scoreboard to reduce the deficit and avoid a bagel.
Federer played some loose shots in those games and let his serve slip away for the first time at 5-1 before delivering another break in the next one for a 6-2 after 29 minutes. The American bounced back at the beginning of the second set with a break at love thanks to a forehand winner, holding after deuce in game two to gain a 2-0 advantage.
Accompanied by Jimmy Connors from the stands, Andy fired a service winner to increase his lead to 3-1, producing more good serves to stay in front after six games. Roger saved a break point in the seventh game to stay within one break deficit, only until game ten when Andy held at 15 to grab the set 6-4 and level the overall score.
After four good holds in the early stages of the third set, the fifth game saw four break opportunities for Andy that could have given him a massive lead. Nonetheless, Federer stayed calm and repelled them all to bring the game home with a service winner and keep the pressure on Roddick.
The Swiss earned five chances on the return in the next game and squandered them all to keep Andy on the positive side of the scoreboard. The American was there to fight until game 12 when he got broken while serving to stay in the set after a great backhand slice from Federer who moved two sets to one up and built a colossal momentum ahead of the fourth set.
There, Roger moved in front with an early break in game two, hitting a smash winner to race into a 4-0 advantage and leaving Roddick pretty much done and dusted. The sixth comfortable hold in a row sent Federer withing a game from the title, creating a match point in game six, eager to finish the encounter with a bagel.
Andy saved it with a service winner to survive and reduce the deficit to 5-1, but it was all over a few minutes later when Roger landed a smash winner, falling to the ground in joy and celebrating his ninth Major crown just after turning 25.