Federer beats Roddick for third straight title

New York, September 11 :

Roger Federer beat Andy Roddick 6-2, 4-6, 7-5, 6-1 on Sunday for his third Grand Slam title of the year and ninth in his career, becoming the first man since Ivan Lendl to win the US Open in three consecutive years. Lendl was the last to win three straight US Opens from 1985-87, and Federer became the only man in tennis history to win Wimbledon and the US Open three years in a row.

Federer won eight of the last nine games, had a 69-33 edge in winners and out-aced the big-serving Roddick 17-7. Federer improved his record against the last man before him to win the US Open to 11-1.

“Roger is at the top, and he’s the only person at the top, regardless of how much people want to make rivalry comparisons and this, that and the other,” Roddick said. “He’s the best player in the game. There’s no question in my mind or if you ask any player about that.”

Federer went 27-1 at this year’s Grand Slam tournaments, the only setback coming against Rafael Nadal in the French Open final. Federer has moved alone into sixth place for total major titles behind Pete Sampras’ record 14.

Tiger Woods, who’s won 12 major championships in golf, sat with his wife in guest box, between Federer’s girlfriend and his agent. “We’ve been trying to meet on several occasions. He promised me to come if I was in the finals,” Federer said. “I’m happy he came.”

Critical tests of wills and nerves came early in the third set: Federer faced four break points but saved them all to hold for a 3-2 lead, and Roddick then successfully dealt with five break points in the very next game to make it 3-all.

But then, serving to take that set to a tiebreaker, Roddick faltered. Or better, Federer flourished, using two backhand return winners to break serve and end the set. Federer let out a scream of “Yes!” — about the only ounce of emotion he showed until falling to his back at the very end.

He then broke to 2-0 in the fourth set, again waiting for Roddick to venture to the net and flicking forehands that the American couldn’t volley. And from there it was pretty much a formality, although Federer would add another service break, making it six for the match, one more time than Roddick was broken in the tournament’s first six rounds combined.

Federer was beyond brilliant for the first 17 minutes, racing to a 5-0 lead with a mix of well-spun aces, curling passing shots, crisp volleys and reflex returns of Roddick’s serves. When Federer hit his fourth ace to cap that five-game run, Roddick bowed his head and shook it.

But Roddick got back into the match, breaking Federer at love to open the second set and running to the sideline with an uppercut and a yell. On one point, Roddick reached for a half-volley to extend the exchange, and then, with both players at the net, hit a reflex volley winner.

List of winners

Men’s singles: Roger Federer (SUI)

Women’s singles: Maria

Sharapova (RUS)

Men’s doubles: Martin Damm (CZE)/Leander Paes (IND)

Women’s doubles: Nathalie

Dechy (FRA)/Vera Zvonareva (RUS)

Mixed doubles: Martina

Navratilova/Bob Bryan (USA)

Junior boys: Dusan Lojda (CZE)

Junior girls: Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (RUS)