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Federer wins five-set Wimbledon thriller

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Roger Federer has won his sixth Wimbledon and record-breaking 15th grand slam title after beating Andy Roddick 5-7, 7-6 (8-6), 7-6 (7-5), 3-6, 16-14.

This content was published on July 5, 2009 - 19:46

In a nervy match of missed chances, the Swiss world number two, who will now return to the top spot on Monday, finally defeated the sixth-seeded American after an epic four hours and 16 minutes.

But despite flashes of brilliance, 27-year-old Federer never looked comfortable and played a conservative game.

The record books don't care about that however. He has now become now the third player to win six or more Wimbledon titles after William Renshaw and Pete Sampras both won seven. And with his 15th grand slam singles title he has broken a tie with Sampras for the most in history.

"Fifteen grand slam titles – that's one of the biggest records. But that doesn't mean I'm going to stop! I hope to play for many years to come," Federer said to rapturous applause.

Sampras, who was in the audience along with other tennis greats Rod Laver and Björn Borg and celebrities including Woody Allen and Henry Kissinger, witnessed a battle that threatened to last until midnight, with neither player looking like breaking the other's serve.

Indeed the 30-game fifth set was at one hour and 35 minutes the longest ever in a grand slam final.

Third-time unlucky

Converting his first matchpoint, Federer let out a primal scream and ran to the net to hug a shocked-looking Roddick, who had nevertheless played an inspired tournament.

Few people had given Roddick much of a chance before the tournament, but had he not seized up when leading 6-2 in the second-set tiebreak and failed to put away a relatively easy volley, it could have been third-time lucky for him against Federer in a Wimbledon final.

"Sorry Pete – I tried everything!" said Roddick afterwards.

For his part, Sampras described Federer as "a legend, an icon". "He is a blessing for the sport. People talk of Laver or Nadal, but when you look at what [Federer] has won, for me Roger is the greatest," he said.

Thomas Stephens, swissinfo.ch

In brief

In 2001 Federer ended Pete Sampras's 31-match winning streak at Wimbledon in the fourth round of the tournament.

By winning Wimbledon in 2003, Federer joined Stefan Edberg, Pat Cash and Björn Borg as the only players to win both the juniors' and men's Wimbledon championships.

Federer won five consecutive men's singles titles at Wimbledon (2003-2007), a feat only ever accomplished by Borg.

Pete Sampras holds the record for the total number of Wimbledon wins in the modern era with seven.

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