Tue, Sep 12, 2006 - Page 20 News List

Federer nets thrid-straight US Open

RECORD RUN The world No. 1 swept aside the US' Andy Roddick in four sets to seal his third title in three years and continue his dominance of the world tennis circuit

AGENCIES , NEW YORK

Roger Federer of Switzerland kisses the championship trophy after defeating Andy Roddick of the US to win the 2006 US Open at Flushing Meadows, New York, on Sunday.

PHOTO: EPA

Switzerland's Roger Federer claimed the US Open men's singles title for the third consecutive year on Sunday, defeating the US' Andy Roddick 6-2, 4-6, 7-5, 6-1 in the final.

Playing in his record sixth-straight grand slam final, Federer performed below his best but still defeated the American for the 11th time in 12 career meetings.

"Winning three slams, it's unbelievable," the 25-year-old told reporters. "I played fantastic all the way through. I'm happy the Slams are over because it's hard work. It's a lot of pressure. I'm happy to kind of sit back a bit and relax."

With the sets level at 1-1 and Roddick serving at 5-6, Federer broke to close out the set amid a chorus of groans from the 24,000 spectators at Arthur Ashe Stadium.

"I was definitely under pressure in the third set," Federer said. "I felt like Andy was starting to play better, serve better. I had to wait for the moment when he had a game where he wasn't quite on."

Roddick said the third set was crucial.

"I felt like I had him a little bit off for a bit of that third set, and it could have gone either way," he said. "So maybe I was flirting with it for a little bit."

"The atmosphere was great. I was really enjoying competing. You want to be on that stage. At that point, it was a real battle," he said.

Federer began to smell blood early in the fourth set and broke Roddick to grab a 2-0 lead. The Australian Open and Wimbledon champion recovered his form, and his confidence, before breaking Roddick again for a 4-0 lead.

When he closed out the match with an overhead, the normally staid Federer collapsed in ecstasy and lay on the court on his back. He won eight of the last nine games.

"I just felt like this is a great moment in my career. I deserved to lie down," Federer said. "Kind of give myself a break. I just thought lying down would be more comfortable."

Despite playing his best only in stretches, Federer finished the two-hour, 27-minute match with 69 winners and only 19 unforced errors. He also out-aced the hard-serving Roddick 17-7.

Roddick had 33 winners and 23 unforced errors but was let down by his inconsistency at the net.

The victory was the ninth grand slam title for Federer, who continues his march towards the record of 14 held by Pete Sampras.

Federer asserted his dominance early, breaking Roddick in the second game of the match and racing to a 5-0 lead before many in the cavernous stadium had taken their seats.

"My serving percentage was a little low those first five games, but as far as hitting the ball, I wasn't hitting the ball bad at all," Roddick said. "Once he gets ahead of you, it's tough."

Although Roddick broke to trim the lead to 5-2, Federer hit back in the next game to close out the opening set.

Federer played a loose game to open the second and was broken to love. The world's top-ranked player, playing his fourth match in five days, lost some of the zip in his groundstrokes and Roddick made him pay.

Roddick's early break held with some stellar serving and the 24-year-old American leveled the match.

After dropping out of the top 10 following a third-round defeat at Wimbledon, Roddick hired five-times Open champion Jimmy Connors as his coach.

The former world number one will move up to number six in the rankings. He was the only non-European, man or woman, to reach a grand slam final this year.

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