Roger Federer captured his 100th career title at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships on Saturday with a 6-4, 6-4 win over Stafanos Tsitsipas. Here's a look at his memorable run to a record five consecutive US Open titles between 2004 and 2008.
2004: Federer's 20th career title
Federer’s love affair with New York City began in earnest in the summer of 2004, and, of all things, he may have a walkover to thank for it. Federer was due to meet 16th-seeded Andrei Pavel in the fourth round on the middle Saturday, but the Romanian was forced to withdraw prior to the match. Combined with extensive rain delays, Federer had three full days off before his quarterfinal with Andre Agassi, which was subsequently pushed back to Thursday when storms rolled through New York once more.
A rested Federer eventually got past Agassi in five grueling sets that took three hours over two blustery days to complete, twice seeing a one-set lead evaporate before prevailing 6-3 in the fifth. From here, it was relatively smooth sailing for the Swiss, who defeated No. 5 seed Tim Henman in straight sets before toppling fourth-seeded Lleyton Hewitt, 6-0, 7-6, 6-0, for his first US Open title.
1R: Federer def. Albert Costa, 7-5, 6-2, 6-4
2R: Federer def. Marcos Baghdatis, 6-2, 6-7, 6-3, 6-1
3R: Federer def. Fabrice Santoro, 6-0, 6-4, 7-6
4R: Federer def. Andrei Pavel, W/O
QF: Federer def. Andre Agassi, 6-3, 2-6, 7-5, 3-6, 6-3
SF: Federer def. Tim Henman, 6-3, 6-4, 6-4
F: Federer def. Lleyton Hewitt, 6-0, 7-6, 6-0
2005: Federer's 32nd career title
Defending champion Federer broke Agassi’s heart for a second consecutive year, this time in the championship match, but there was a sense of déjà vu about Federer’s title run. As with the previous year, he defeated Santoro in the first week, survived a scare in the middle rounds and defeated Hewitt and Agassi at the business end of the tournament.
Unseeded Nicolas Kiefer of Germany pushed Federer to four sets in a three-hour match in the Round of 16, before Federer dropped just seven games in dispatching David Nalbandian. The Maestro won a rollercoaster battle with Aussie grinder and No. 3 seed Hewitt in the semifinals before toppling Agassi, 6-3, 2-6, 7-6, 6-1, in the finale.
1R: Federer def. Ivo Minar, 6-1, 6-1, 6-1
2R: Federer def. Fabrice Santoro, 7-5, 7-5, 7-6
3R: Federer def. Olivier Rochus, 6-3, 7-6, 6-2
4R: Federer def. Nicolas Kiefer, 6-4, 6-7, 6-3, 6-4
QF: Federer def. David Nalbandian, 6-2, 6-4, 6-1
SF: Federer def. Lleyton Hewitt, 6-3, 7-6, 4-6, 6-3
F: Federer def. Andre Agassi, 6-3, 2-6, 7-6, 6-1
2006: Federer's 41st career title
Federer became the first male player in almost two decades to win three US Open titles in a row when he lifted the trophy in 2006 in what was arguably his easiest run to the title at Flushing Meadows. He spent less than seven hours on court in storming through the opening four rounds without dropping a set, before being made to work for his 7-6, 6-0, 6-7, 6-4 quarterfinal victory over James Blake.
Federer made light work of Nikolay Davydenko in the semifinals, and he capped off another perfect fortnight in the Big Apple with a 6-2, 4-6, 7-5, 6-1 win over American No. 9 seed Andy Roddick, who was playing for his second Grand Slam men’s singles title after winning his home major three years earlier.
1R: Federer def. Jimmy Wang, 6-4, 6-1, 6-0
2R: Federer def. Tim Henman, 6-3, 6-4, 7-5
3R: Federer def. Vincent Spadea, 6-3, 6-3, 6-0
4R: Federer def. Marc Gicquel, 6-3, 7-6, 6-3
QF: Federer def. James Blake, 7-6, 6-0, 6-7, 6-4
SF: Federer def. Nikolay Davydenko, 6-1, 7-5, 6-4
F: Federer def. Andy Roddick, 6-2, 4-6, 7-5, 6-1
2007: Federer's 51st career title
A comfortable draw in Week 1 turned into a potentially hazardous tournament after Labor Day, but by now the 11-time major champion was in his prime and in full flight. Having won seven of the past nine Slams—and losing in the final of the other two in Paris—Federer was the overwhelming favorite in New York, and he didn’t disappoint.
After beating two qualifiers and wild-card recipient John Isner over the first three rounds, Federer rallied from a set down to beat Feliciano Lopez in the Round of 16. In the quarterfinals against Andy Roddick, Federer prevailed in straight sets despite no breaks of serve until 3-2 in the third. And two days later against Nikolay Davydenko, Federer found a way to advance in straight sets again, despite dropping serve five times in 16 games.
That set the stage for a final showdown with Novak Djokovic, who was contesting his first major championship finale. The Swiss triumphed, 7-6, 7-6, 6-4, capitalizing on a nervous Djokovic, who squandered five set points in the first set and two more in the second, as Federer made it four in a row in New York.
1R: Federer def. Scoville Jenkins, 6-3, 6-2, 6-4
2R: Federer def. Paul Capdeville, 6-1, 6-4, 6-4
3R: Federer def. John Isner, 6-7, 6-2, 6-4, 6-2
4R: Federer def. Feliciano Lopez, 3-6, 6-4, 6-1, 6-4
QF: Federer def. Andy Roddick, 7-6, 7-6, 6-2
SF: Federer def. Nikolay Davydenko, 7-5, 6-1, 7-5
F: Federer def. Novak Djokovic, 7-6, 7-6, 6-4
2008: Federer's 56th career title
Federer became the first player in the Open era—and just the third player in US Open/U.S. National Championships history behind Dick Sears (seven from 1881-87) and Bill Tilden (six from 1920-25)—to win five straight US Open titles. No man, woman or doubles team in the Open era has won five consecutive US Open titles.
But it wasn’t Andy Murray—whom he beat in the final—or Djokovic—whom he dispatched in the semis—that posed the biggest threat to his history-making run. It was Igor Andreev, appearing in the fourth round of the US Open for the first time, who gave Federer the biggest, most unlikely scare. Federer needed five sets and more than three-and-a-half hours to beat the Russian, 6-7, 7-6, 6-3, 3-6, 6-3.
Victory in New York extended Federer's unbeaten streak to 34 matches. He would go on to make it 40 in a row in 2009, before falling to Juan Martin del Potro in a thrilling five-set final.
1R: Federer def. Maximo Gonzalez, 6-3, 6-0, 6-3
2R: Federer def. Thiago Alves, 6-3, 7-5, 6-4
3R: Federer def. Radek Stepanek, 6-3, 6-3, 6-2
4R: Federer def. Igor Andreev, 6-7, 7-6, 6-3, 3-6, 6-3
QF: Federer def. Gilles Muller, 7-6, 6-4, 7-6
SF: Federer def. Novak Djokovic, 6-3, 5-7, 7-5, 6-2
F: Federer def. Andy Murray, 6-2, 7-5, 6-2