Federer edges Roddick in epic final

Sun Jul 5, 2009 4:22pm EDT
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By Martyn Herman

LONDON (Reuters) - Roger Federer beat Andy Roddick in one of the most extraordinary finals ever seen at Wimbledon or any other grand slam on Sunday, holding off a brave challenge from the American to win 5-7 7-6 7-6 3-6 16-14.

The final set alone of an unforgettable Center Court duel lasted 95 minutes before a Roddick, who took 107 Federer winners on the chin, mishit a weary forehand out of court to give the Swiss great his sixth Wimbledon title and the record of 15 grand slam titles he so cherished.

Roddick said before that he hoped to stall Federer on 14 and he will look back at blowing a 6-2 lead in the second set tiebreak when Federer was on the ropes. His failed backhand volley on his fourth set point will haunt him for a while.

Fittingly, Pete Sampras, the only other man to have previously won 14 slams, was sat in the Royal Box alongside five-times winner Bjorn Borg and Rod Laver, as a match of unrelenting drama stretched into a fifth hour.

"Andy I want to say you're going to come back and win one, I'm sure," Federer said on court as a shattered Roddick contemplated his third defeat to Federer in a Wimbledon final.

"Today I was on the lucky side. It feels funny to have the trophy back. It feels great. It was a crazy match, my head's still spinning. It's an unbelievable moment in my career."

At the end, Center Court looked like a lonely place for Roddick who still managed to congratulate the man he has now lost to in four of his five grand slam finals.

"I want to say congratulations to Roger, well done, he deserves it. I tried -- sorry Pete, I tried to hold him off," an emotional Roddick said.   Continued...

<p>Roger Federer of Switzerland celebrates after defeating Andy Roddick of the U.S. in their Gentlemen's Singles finals match at the Wimbledon tennis championships in London, July 5, 2009. REUTERS/Julian Finney/Pool</p>