Andy Roddick and Roger Federer’s fourth meeting in a major final was their most dramatic match, with history on the line.
At Wimbledon in 2009, the top two players in the world—Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer—were heading in decidedly different directions. Nadal, the defending champion, just saw his unbeaten streak at the French Open end and was forced to withdraw from Wimbledon due to injury. Roger Federer entered the tournament after having finally won the French Open to complete his career Grand Slam. The five-time Wimbledon champion entered the tournament as the clear favorite, and breezed through to the final with the loss of only one set.
Slated to meet him there was a familiar—yet perhaps, unexpected—face: Andy Roddick. Always a threat on grass, as evidenced by his two prior Wimbledon finals, Roddick had suffered his earliest loss ever at the tournament the year prior, falling in the second round. Seeded six in ’09, Roddick overcame tests in every round with the two stiffest ones in the quarterfinals and semifinals, when he defeated longtime rival Lleyton Hewitt in five sets and home favorite Andy Murray in four sets, respectively.
Though Roddick had a 2-18 head-to-head record against Federer, which included two losses in the Wimbledon finals, the American struck first. He broke Federer late in the first set and then served it out to take it 7-5.
In the second, the two fought to a tiebreak and it was all Roddick early on, as he eventually took a 6-2 lead. Federer got it to 6-5, and Roddick had one more set point on his serve. He worked his way to the net, and missed a backhand volley wide. Federer evened the match after taking the tiebreak 8-6.
The two remained on serve throughout the third set, with Federer prevailing once again in the tiebreak. Roddick wasn’t done yet, though, breaking Federer once in the fourth and riding it out to level the match at two sets apiece.
It was on to the fifth set, and in that final frame neither Roddick nor Federer yielded much ground to the other. And with the no-tiebreak-in-the-fifth rule, it appeared as if the match wouldn’t end. Through the first 16 games, neither player was able to notch a break point. In the next game, though, Federer went down 15-40 on his serve, which might as well have been match points with the way Roddick was serving. Federer fought those off and the match continued on serve until Roddick was broken at 14-15. Federer held easily to win Grand Slam No. 15, passing Pete Sampras' record of 14.
Federer only broke Roddick’s serve once the entire match, late in the fifth set.
It took Federer seven years to win his 15th Grand Slam title. Sampras, whose record he broke, won his 14 over a 13-year span (1990-2002).
This was the fourth time in his career that Federer played a five-set Grand Slam final, and the first against someone other than Nadal in that situation. He brought his record to 2-2 with this win.
The amount of games played in the fifth set is the most ever in a Grand Slam final.
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