Roger Federer: Highlighting Fed-Ex's Most Memorable Clay Performances

Kyle Stanzel@@DmndPrspctsCorrespondent IIIMay 28, 2012

The clay courts of Roland Garros have held many of the most exciting tennis matches in Grand Slam history, and we have every reason to expect that the 2012 French Open will have several more in store for us.

While longtime rival Rafael Nadal is widely considered to be perhaps the best clay player of all-time, Roger Federer has seen his fair share of shining moments on the clay courts.

Here, we take a look back at Federer's most memorable clay performances.

 

2007 Hamburg Masters Final vs. Rafael Nadal

We start with the match that took down Nadal's 81-match winning streak on clay courts. It surely seemed like Nadal would continue his streak, having defeated Lleyton Hewitt in the semifinals, while Federer never really seemed to dominate throughout the tournament.

When Nadal took the first set 2-6, it surely seemed like 82 was well within his grasp.

With the pressure on, however, Federer showed why he is one of the best to ever play the sport, fighting back to win the second set 6-2.

There was no looking back from there, as Federer pulled off an astounding 6-0 final set to break Nadal's streak and defeat the "Clay King" on his own turf.

 

2011 French Open Semifinal vs. Novak Djokovic

Continuing with the streak-breaking theme, we take a look at Federer's epic showdown with the second-seeded Djokovic in the 2011 French Open semifinal. Djokovic was riding a 43-match win streak—along with a perfect season—before taking on Federer.

With a French crowd clearly favoring the Swiss Federer, he showed why he is one of the game's legends by responding to every move Djokovic made.

Federer would not be denied another French Open final against Rafael Nadal, defeating Djokovic 7-6 (5), 6-3, 3-6, 7-6 (5). Although Federer would fall to Nadal once again at Roland Garros, his victory over Djokovic was another defining moment in the Slam King's illustrious career.

 

2009 French Open Final vs. Robin Soderling

Undoubtedly Roger Federer's greatest achievement of his career, he defeated Robin Soderling in straight sets 6-1, 7-6 (1), 6-4 to become just the sixth man ever to complete a career Grand Slam.

In the process, he also tied Pete Sampras' record of 14 major singles titles, cementing himself in the history books of men's tennis.

After a grueling battle in the semifinal match against Juan Martin del Potro, Federer never seemed to lose control of the match, which was played for the most part in a steady light rain. He never faltered in the quest for his first Roland Garros trophy and summed it up perfectly when he said, "Maybe my greatest victory—or certainly the one that takes the most pressure off my shoulders."  

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