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Federer dethrones king of Wimbledon

Federer falls to his knees after dramatically ousting Sampras

(Keystone)

Swiss tennis star Roger Federer has pulled off the biggest win of his career so far, reaching the quarterfinals at Wimbledon with an amazing victory over seven-times tournament winner Pete Sampras.

The Basel teenager, who celebrated his first tournament victory earlier this season in Milan, ended the American superstar's bid for a record eighth Wimbledon win, and simultaneously enhanced his own reputation as a dark horse for the Grand Slam title.

"I fought from the first to last point", Federer said. "It's a great feeling I've never had before", he added.

Federer made a great start to Monday's match, winning the opening set on a tie-break. The Swiss player then suffered a set-back in the second set, losing it 7-5 after being broken by Sampras in the last game.

Federer grabbed revenge late in the third set, though, breaking Sampras before winning his own service game with an ace to go 2-1 up.

The fourth set was as tightly fought as the first, with both players holding serve throughout to force a second tie-break.

Federer's hopes of wrapping up the match in four sets faded fast though as Sampras took advantage of some early mistakes by the Swiss player. After losing the tie-break 7-2, Federer found himself back on level terms at 2-2, facing a deciding fifth set.

It took 12 more games to separate the two men, but with the score at 6-5 in Federer's favour, the breakthrough finally came.

Some unusually sloppy play from Sampras handed Federer his first two match points. He needed only one, driving a perfect return past a stranded Sampras before falling to the ground in unadulterated joy.

"This match will give me as much confidence as I can get. It's the biggest win of my life", Federer said.

Federer will have little time to celebrate his achievement before facing another tough challenge in the quarter-finals. In the last eight, the Swiss player is due to meet either home favourite Tim Henman or American veteran Todd Martin.

by Mark Ledsom


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