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Roger Federer's 5 best wins at Wimbledon

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Roger Federer

Roger Federer is the most successful men's singles player in the history of the Wimbledon Championships.

The 39-year-old has a decorated grasscourt resume festooned with glittering records. He has the most match wins (188) and titles (19) of any player on grass, with 101 of those victories and eight titles coming at Wimbledon.

Despite coming off two knee surgeries and his earliest-ever exit in Halle, Roger Federer is once again expected to make a deep run this year at his favourite tournament on the tennis calendar.

Wimbledon has a special pride of place in Roger Federer's heart. It was at this tournament two decades ago that a then-teenage Federer beat his idol, Pete Sampras in the fourth round. Two years later, the elegant right-hander lifted the first of his eight titles at SW19.

Delighting fans and connoisseurs alike with his silken one-handed backhand and effortless shot-making, Roger Federer has scripted many a memorable win at Wimbledon.

On that note, let's have a look at the Swiss legend's five most unforgettable wins at Wimbledon.

#5 2015 semifinals: Roger Federer beat Andy Murray 7-5, 7-5, 6-4

Roger Federer
Roger Federer

Three years after beating Andy Murray for his seventh Wimbledon title, Roger Federer produced a grasscourt masterclass to down the Brit in the 2015 semifinals.

Smarting from a five-set loss to Novak Djokovic in the 2014 title match, Federer was a man on a mission against Murray. Conceding just one break point over the course of the match, the then 33-year-old Swiss struck at the business end of all three sets to eke out a straight-sets win.

Despite sending down 20 aces and registering a high first-serve percentage, Murray never got into the match.

"He served fantastic, apart from the first game where I had the chance there. I didn't really have any opportunities," the Scot said after the match. That puts pressure on you. I obviously got broken right at the end all of the sets but didn't actually play a bad match. I played pretty well."

Federer, on his part, lauded his opponent but admitted that he had one of the best serving performances of his career.

“I served very well. I served a very good first-serve percentage, and I served big. It was one the best serving days of my career for sure.”

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Federer went on to fall short in the Wimbledon final against Djokovic for the second time in as many years.


#4 2006 final: Beat Rafael Nadal 6-0, 7-6(5), 6-7(2), 6-3

Roger Federer won his fourth consecutive Wimbledon title in 2006.
Roger Federer won his fourth consecutive Wimbledon title in 2006.

Roger Federer may have lost six of his seven previous clashes against Rafael Nadal heading into the 2006 Wimbledon final, but the then 24-year-old Swiss was still the favorite because of his superior pedigree on grass.

Weeks after Nadal denied Federer a career Grand Slam at Roland Garros, handing the Swiss his first defeat in a Major final, the Spaniard was ready to challenge his rival on his favorite surface.

The three-time defending champion made a better start, handing Nadal a rare bagel in the first set. The Spaniard grew into the contest in the second, but failed to serve out the set and squandered a 3-1 lead in the ensuing tiebreak as Federer took a vice-like grip on the contest.

Nadal delayed the inevitable when he took the third set in a tiebreak, as Federer reasserted his dominance in the fourth and closed out the victory after overcoming a few late nerves.

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Roger Federer paid rich tribute to his younger opponent in the post-match presentation.

"I would just like to say it's a great tournament for Rafael. I honestly did not think he would reach the final, but it's a fantastic effort, so congratulations for coming so far," Federer said. "It was awfully tight, and I was getting awfully nervous in the end too."

Federer would go on to meet Nadal in the title match in the next two years. The Swiss would beat the Spaniard in five sets in 2007 before seeing his five-year Wimbledon stranglehold come to an end in an epic 2008 final.

#3 2016 quarterfinals: Roger Federer beat Marin Cilic 6-7(4), 4-6, 6-3, 7-6(9), 6-3

Roger Federer produced a great escape at 2016 Wimbledon.
Roger Federer produced a great escape at 2016 Wimbledon.

In the first two sets of the match, Roger Federer was easily the lesser player, as Marin Cilic had the Swiss on the ropes.

Struggling to cope with Cilic's powerful serves, Federer lost a tight opening set in a tiebreak before a lone break of serve in the second saw the Croat take firm control of the match.

Just when it looked like Federer was on the mat, down 0-40 on his serve in the seventh game of the third set, the Swiss engineered a clutch hold, broke Cilic in the next game and served out the set to reduce the arrears.

In a topsy-turvy fourth, both players squandered break opportunities early. Roger Federer saved three match points over the course of the set, which he took 11-9 in a tiebreak to force a decider.

The Swiss then secured the decisive break in the eighth game before closing out the match with an ace out wide to pull off a staggering 10 comeback from two sets down.

“When you’re saving match points, when you’re down two sets to love, three-all, love-40, it’s a moment when it’s not in your control anymore," a relieved Roger Federer said after the match:
"But I fought, I tried, I believed. At the end I got it done. So it was great on so many levels. This one is definitely huge because it’s Centre Court at Wimbledon, and it still gives me the chance to win the tournament.”

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Cilic bemoaned his lack of aggressiveness in the decisive moments.

“I was very close to the victory. Obviously it’s not easy to deal with (the result). If we would play again, I would try to be more aggressive on the chances when I had them in the fourth. Maybe there was a slight hesitation in some of them. But I have to take the positives. In all three sets (Roger Federer won), I played pretty good tennis."

Federer failed to go all the way that year, but the Swiss returned in 2017 to win his eighth and most recent Wimbledon title, beating Cilic in straight sets in the final.


#2 2001 fourth round: Roger Federer beat Pete Sampras 7-6(7), 5-7, 6-4, 6-7(2), 7-5

Roger Federer exults after beating Pete Sampras.
Roger Federer exults after beating Pete Sampras.

In a proverbial changing of the guard, the then-teenaged Roger Federer produced one of the biggest upsets in Wimbledon history when he dethroned his idol and seven-time champion, Pete Sampras, in the fourth round in 2001.

Fresh off a first Major quarterfinal at Roland Garros a few weeks prior, Roger Federer was yearning for the one result that would herald his arrival on the big stage. That duly arrived on a memorable afternoon at SW19.

Far from being daunted by the prospect of facing the four-time defending champion, Federer looked confident from the outset and took the opener in a tiebreak. Sampras raised his level to take the second, but Federer regained the ascendancy in the third.

Once again, Sampras refused to throw in the towel. Out came the big serves and half-volleys as the American forced a decider. Riding the momentum, Sampras had two looks at the Federer serve at 4-4, but both opportunities went begging.

A few games later, the two players were shaking hands at the net as Roger Federer made a triumphant Center Court debut while Sampras wondered what might have been.

Dwelling on his defeat, Sampras remarked prophetically:

"I think Roger is something extra-special. It (reign at Wimbledon) wasn't going to last forever,. Federer played a great game. But there's no reason to panic, and think I can't come back here and win."

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Federer said in the immediate aftermath of the win:

"A lot of friends had told me, 'I think you can beat him this year.' I'd played a great year - better than him. I knew I had a chance. But it was not 100 per cent. I mean, he's the man on grass.”

A faltering Sampras waded into the sunset, winning only one more match at Wimbledon, while Roger Federer emerged as the man to beat on the hallowed turf.


#1 2009 final: Roger Federer beat Andy Roddick 5-7, 7-6(6), 7-6(5), 3-6, 16-14

Roger Federer with his sixth Wimbledon title in 2009.
Roger Federer with his sixth Wimbledon title in 2009.

Roger Federer arrived at 2009 Wimbledon as the deposed champion, having come within two points of a sixth consecutive title the previous year, only to be denied by a rampant Rafael Nadal in fading light.

Nevertheless, Federer breezed through the draw in the absence of the defending champion, dropping one set en route to his seventh consecutive Wimbledon final, where a familiar foe lay in wait: Andy Roddick.

Roger Federer had beaten the American in each of their three previous meetings at Wimbledon, including the 2004 and 2005 finals. But a sterner test awaited the then-five-time champion as Roddick took the opener.

Roddick was on the cusp of a two-set lead when he arrived at four consecutive set points in the second-set tiebreak. But Federer pulled off a miraculous escape, winning six points on the trot to level proceedings.

The Swiss later said the second set was a turning point in the match.

“I thought the second set was obviously key to what came after. Maybe being down two sets to love, the way Andy was serving, would have always been a very difficult situation to be in. Even then, down two sets to love, it's still possible, but it definitely increased my chances of winning.”

A fazed Roddick returned to the wrong end to start the third but regrouped quickly and another tiebreak ensued. But it was Federer who held his nerve once again to take a two-sets-to-one lead.

To his credit, Roddick once again dug deep, securing the only break of the set to force a fifth, where both men raised their games.

Serving first, Federer saved two break points at 8-8 as the set wore on. At 14-15 on Roddick's serve, Federer, who was yet to break the American, arrived at championship point.

After four hours and 16 minutes, the Roddick serve finally cracked; a forehand flew long and Federer jumped in delight.

“It's frustrating at times because I couldn't break Andy ‘til the very, very end'," the Swiss said after the match. "The satisfaction is maybe bigger this time around to come through because I couldn't control the match at all.
"It's staggering that I've been able to play so well for so many years now and stay injury-free. It's crazy that I've been able to win so many in such a short period of time, I think.”

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With Pete Sampras in attendance, Federer admitted to being 'nervous' as he became the first man to win 15 Grand Slam titles.

“Today with Pete it was a bit special. When he walked in and I saw him for the first time, I did get more nervous,” Roger Federer said. “I said hello to him, too, which is unusual. But I thought, ‘I don't want to be rude.’”

That was the closest Roddick would come to winning another Slam and he would go on to retire three years later. Meanwhile, more than a decade after that epic meeting, Roger Federer remains one of the men to beat at Wimbledon.


Edited by Arvind Sriram
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