Roger Federer: 7 Grand Slam Matches That Defined King Fed's Career

Alex SandersonCorrespondent IIIJune 13, 2011

Roger Federer: 7 Grand Slam Matches That Defined King Fed's Career

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    Roger Federer is considered to be one of the greatest tennis players to ever pick up a racquet. He has the record for most grand slam singles titles in ATP history with 16 and is still a top-three player looking for more.

    Federer is past his prime but showed last week in Paris that he still has something left in the tank. He is one of the favorites heading into Wimbledon next week and is looking to capture the title at the place where his glory all began.

    Here is a look at seven of the top grand slams that have defined Federer's career to this point in chronological order.

2001 Wimbledon: Federer Ends Sampras' Run

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    While Federer did not win the title in 2001 at the All-England Club, he certainly put himself on the map as the future of men's grass court tennis.

    Pete Sampras was looking for his fifth straight Wimbledon title and eighth overall, but ran into the Swiss Maestro in the fourth round. Federer won a tight contest in five sets and finally put all his talent together on the biggest of stages.

    The match symbolized a changing of the guard in men's tennis tennis from Sampras to Federer and was amazingly the only time they played each other in an official match.

    Federer lost in the quarterfinals in 2001 to Tim Henman, also one of the best grass-court players in the generation before Federer.

2003 Wimbledon: Federer Captures First Grand Slam

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    Federer's first grand slam championship was captured at the All-England Club at 2003. It was a remarkable tournament for the Swiss player, as he dropped only one set.

    Federer defeated unseeded Mark Philippousis in the finals in straight sets. The draw turned out very good for the young player, as his toughest test was knocking out 2003 U.S. Open Champion Andy Roddick in the semifinals.

    This tournament was crucial for Federer because many people were thinking that he was going to let all his talent go to waste. After getting his first major some eight years ago, the Swiss Maestro has been a force to be reckoned with at every grand slam played since.

2005 French Open: Federer-Nadal Rivalry Begins

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    At the 2005 French Open, Roger Federer made his first deep run on the clay courts. He lost to a young teenager playing his first Roland Garros named Rafael Nadal in the semifinals, but it seemed like a good result for him.

    Unfortanetly for Federer, this was a sign of things to come for many years. He has clearly been the second best clay court player since that tournament, but he is still far behind Nadal.

    The 2005 French Open was the first time Nadal and Federer met on the grand slam stage. They have played eight times in majors since then, all in the finals, where Nadal has won six of eight times.

2008 Wimbledon: Nadal Ends Federer's Run in Greatest Match of All Time

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    By the time the 2008 Wimbledon Championships rolled around, Nadal had already established himself as having the upper hand in his rivalry with Federer. However, Federer had not yet conceded his territory on the grand slam stage outside of clay.

    In the 2008 final, Nadal jumped out to a two-set lead on Federer. If he was going to win his sixth straight Wimbledon title, the Swiss Maestro was going to have to dig out of a big hole.

    Federer was able to win the third and fourth sets in tiebreaks, hitting one of the best backhands of all time down match-point in the fourth-set breaker. However, Nadal came away with the fifth set, 9-7 in fading light, as Federer was unable to break his serve the entire match.

    The significance of the loss for Federer is that it really put Nadal on the map as being more than just a one-trick pony for clay courts. It was Nadal's first grand slam title outside of the French Open and was the first step in him being able to capture the career grand slam that he now owns.

2009 French Open: Federer Gets What He Needs

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    Federer was the three-time defending runner up of the French Open heading into 2009 at Roland Garros. His attempts at trying to capture the only grand slam he didnt own had repeatedly been denied by Nadal.

    In the fourth round, Robin Soderling pulled off one the greatest upsets in tennis history in handing Nadal his first loss in Paris. That opened the door for Federer, but it certainly wasn't easy.

    The day after Nadal went out, Tommy Haas had Federer on the ropes after winning the first two sets. Federer nearly went down a break late in the third set as well, but an amazing forehand saved him that and then he cruised from that point on.

    In the semifinals, Federer was down two sets to one to Juan Martin del Potro before finishing that match strong as well.

    The championship match was much different, however, as Federer played one of his best matches in his career to knock out Soderling in straight sets. After the final point, the Swiss Maestro was more emotional than I've ever seen him, as he knew the significance of the win.

    The victory meant Federer had become the sixth men in tennis history to complete the career grand slam (winning each of the four majors at least once), just about completing his resume. He also tied Sampras' all-time record with 14 grand slam singles titles.

2009 Wimbledon: Federer Surpasses Sampras

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    The 2009 Wimbledon Championships presented a great opportunity for Federer. Win your sixth title at the All-England Club in seven years and you own the record for most grand slam singles titles. His rival Nadal also had to pull out of the event, and the stage was set for the Swiss Maestro.

    The road to the final match was very straight forward for Federer, dropping only one set. He was to play Roddick in the finals, a man he owned throughout his career, and it looked inevitable that he was going to get the record 15th grand slam title.

    Roddick had other ideas, however. He won the first set and built a 6-2 lead in the second-set tiebreaker. Federer fought his way out of that with some help from Roddick and even built a two set to one lead, but Roddick didn't go away.

    Federer could not find his way on Roddick's serve and did not break him until Roddick was serving at 14-15 in the fifth set. Roddick shanked a forehand down match point and Federer jumped up in jubilation.

    With Sampras present, Federer was able to eclipse a record that had just been recently set. This title, along with his Roland Garros win a few weeks before, really etched the Swiss Maestro as the greatest player of all time.

2009 U.S. Open: Del Potro Ends Federer's Run

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    Federer was looking for his sixth straight U.S. Open title in 2009. After del Potro dominated Nadal in the semifinals, it looked for all the world that he would get it.

    However, the Argentine came back from a set deficit on two occasions to win his first grand slam title. It was the first time that Federer lost in a grand-slam championship match to someone other than Nadal and was a pretty shocking result.

    In the loss, Federer even had an argument with the chair umpire, telling him you can't tell me not to talk. It was a rare display of unsportsmanlike behavior from the graceful Swiss player.

    At the time, the loss didn't seem too important other than the fact the loss wasn't to Nadal. However, since that time, Federer has won only one grand slam in six tries, when he was accustomed to winning at least two a year. It is the starting point in the demise of the all-time great.