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Friday, January 30, 2009

Roger Federer Eyes 14th Grand Slam Crown

Swiss superstar Roger Federer will look to equal Pete Sampras' record of 14 Grand Slam championship titles in the Australian Open final, after knocking out No. 7 seed Andy Roddick of the United States 6-2, 7-5, 7-5 in two hours and seven minutes on Thursday night.
The second seed will also attempt to join Jack Crawford, Ken Rosewall and Andre Agassi as a four-time champion at the first Grand Slam championship of the season. Federer will be appearing in his 18th career Grand Slam final (tied with Sampras) on Sunday, having spent a total of 12 hours and 35 minutes on court at Melbourne Park this year. Only Ivan Lendl (19) has appeared in more Grand Slam finals.

If 27-year-old Federer goes on to win the Australian Open, he would move into joint-second place alongside Lendl (48-10) and Agassi (48-5) for most match wins at the Melbourne Grand Slam since 1968. Stefan Edberg (56-10), the 1985 and 1987 winner, leads the list.

"I thought that I played really solid out there tonight," said Federer. "I thought the level was high throughout the match. I had a couple good games where I served really well in the first set, and that gave me a lot of confidence going into the second one. I was moving well and getting a lot of balls back and making it difficult for Andy to get the upper hand from the baseline.

"I thought he played a bit more aggressive with his backhand. I think he already tried to do that against me in Miami. I really think he improved the returns. The second serves he takes more easily. I have the feeling he's improved at the net. He's a bit better mover. Before, he didn't run a whole lot for drop shots."

DEUCE Magazine: Federer's No. 1 Focus

Roddick looked set to challenge Federer in the pair's 18th career meeting, having won their previous match at an ATP World Tour Masters 1000 tennis tournament in Miami, Florida, last year. But the 2003, 2005 and 2007 semi-finalist found his opponent in inspired form.

Federer was able to convert his first service break in the third game, on his third break point opportunity, with a forehand pass. Roddick's hopes of breaking back immediately were dashed in the next game, with Federer hitting a forehand winner down the line at 30-40. The Swiss capitalised on Roddick's lack of confidence at the net to open up a 4-1 lead, before saving two break points when serving for the set. Federer clinched the 32-minute opening set 6-2, when Roddick hit a backhand crosscourt return out.

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