Federer's 100: 10 Memorable Match Wins At The Australian Open
ATPTour.com looks back on 10 memorable match wins for the Swiss at Melbourne Park
Roger Federer has today become the first singles player in Grand Slam championship history to record 100 match wins at the Australian Open. The Swiss superstar, a winner of six titles at Melbourne Park, hit the milestone after he beat Australia’s John Millman on Rod Laver Arena in the third round on Friday. He is now 100-14 lifetime at the season’s first major championship. On 10 July 2019, he recorded his 100th match win at The Championships, Wimbledon.
ATPTour.com takes a look at 10 of his memorable match wins at the Australian Open.
Win No. 1: 2000 first round, d. Michael Chang (USA) 64 64 76(5)
Federer got off to a winning start on his Grand Slam championship debut, beating former World No. 2 and 1996 Australian Open finalist Michael Chang in the first round. The 18-year-old was at his attacking best in the encounter, which lasted two hours and five minutes, hitting 14 aces in the first of their five ATP Head2Head meetings. Federer went onto beat Jan Kroslak, before falling to Arnaud Clement 6-1, 6-4, 6-3 in the third round.
Win No. 17: 2004 final, d. Marat Safin (RUS) 76(3) 64 62
Six months on from lifting his first Grand Slam crown at Wimbledon, Federer arrived at Melbourne Park without a coach – having parted company with Peter Lundgren the year before – and was No. 2 in the FedEx ATP Rankings. With a point to prove, having not gone beyond the fourth round in four visits, the Swiss beat Lleyton Hewitt and two Top 10 players in David Nalbandian and Juan Carlos Ferrero, which sealed his rise to No. 1. Federer was not quite at his best in the final, often over-anxious in his search for outright winners against Safin, who’d beat Andy Roddick and defending champion Andre Agassi. Safin saved two set point at 6-5 in the first set, which Federer eventually won and carried the initiative.
Win No. 26: 2006 fourth round, d. Tommy Haas (GER) 64 60 36 46 62
It was a five-set scare that lives long in the memory. Federer was two sets to love up within an hour, then, inexplicably, his game fell apart (he committed 58 unforced errors) and the Melbourne crowd got behind World No. 41 Haas’ fightback. The Swiss crucially broke Haas’ serve in the sixth game of the decider when Haas missed a volley and broke again in the eighth game. "I'm happy with the way I played tonight. I thought the first two sets I played perfect tennis but after that he played pretty good," said Federer, who had not dropped a set en route to the fourth-round clash. "It was a pity I couldn't close it out in three. He was the guy who had to react and work. I was two sets up and never really close to losing. I just thought if I could get one break it would change the match and the momentum and it did."
Win No. 29: 2006 final, d. Marcos Baghdatis (CYP) 57 75 60 62
It was a 20-year-old from Limassol, who’d beaten three Top 10 players en route to his first Grand Slam final (and only his second tour-level final), who looked assured and in a rich vein of form, twice coming within a point of a 7-5 and 3-0 lead against Federer, who was chasing his seventh major crown. "I started thinking about the trophy and I stopped playing," said Baghdatis. "I gave Roger the chance to come in and be more aggressive. And that cost me the match." The 24-year-old fed Baghdatis little pace, but remained cautious in working his way back to peak form. "Maybe I was a little passive in the beginning, not as aggressive maybe as I should have been, but he was the better shot-maker and totally deserved the first set," said Federer, after victory in two hours and 47 minutes. Watched by the family of his former Australian coach Peter Carter, who died in a car crash four years earlier, Federer broke down in tears as he was presented the trophy by Rod Laver.
Win No. 35: 2007 semi-finals, d. Andy Roddick (USA) 64 60 62
Roddick felt that the gap between him and Federer was closing after impressive performances in the 2006 US Open final and at that year’s Nitto ATP Finals, so the consensus was spectators were in for a blockbuster. It turned into an 83-minute masterclass for 15,000 fans on Rod Laver Arena. "Look, it’s just unreal," said Federer, who tied Jack Crawford’s all-time record, set in 1934, by reaching his seventh successive major final. "I’m shocked myself. I don’t know what to say. From 4-4, Federer won 11 games in a row and, at one point, 24 of 27 points. When asked how he felt at the end of the match, Roddick admitted, "It was frustrating, you know, it was miserable, it sucked, it was terrible. But besides that it was fine."
Win No. 39: 2008 third round, d. Janko Tipsarevic (SRB) 67(5) 76(1) 57 61 10-8
Having reached 10 straight Grand Slam finals, three-time Australian Open champion Federer had lost just six games in six sets en route to the 2008 third round, where he found himself in trouble. Federer served for the first set at 5-3, but subsequently dropped his first set at Melbourne Park since 2006. He could not convert two set points on Tipsarevic’s serve in the 10th game of the third set, but raised his game in the deciding set to break at 8-8. “What a great battle. Fair play, he’s a nice guy — pity somebody has to win, wish we could have draws sometimes too,” said Federer, in an on-court interview. “This is where you get grey hair early in life. Pity for him, but what a great victory for me.”
Win No. 46: 2009 quarter-finals, d. Juan Martin del Potro (ARG) 63 60 60
Arguably Federer’s best performance, fluent off the ground and at the net against a player who’d risen from No. 53 to No. 6 over the past 12 months and captured an ATP Tour title at the ASB Classic in Auckland two weeks earlier. Federer broke through after a tussle of a fourth game and never looked back, moving his Argentine opponent around the court and feeding low balls in an 80-minute victory. Federer hit 12 aces, committed 12 unforced errors, with just three in the second and third sets, and hit 38 winners – two for every game of the match. “Things went much better than I expected,” said Federer. “I kind of felt good from the start. The longer the match went, the more he struggled and the better I got.”
Win No. 86: 2017 final, d. Rafael Nadal (ESP) 64 36 61 36 63
Returning from a knee injury and coming into the tournament as the World No. 17, it was perhaps his greatest triumph, and one of the most unexpected. The fifth set was full of agonising drama as Nadal took an early break, only to see Federer rally again and recover to 3-3, with Nadal seemingly meeting every break point with a winner. Back on level terms, Nadal showed fatigue and Federer, almost prostrate 30 minutes earlier having received on-court treatment, came through a nerve-shredding final service game to become the first man to win five or more titles at three Grand Slam tournaments. Aged 35, and five years since his last major singles trophy, Federer also became the second-oldest man behind Ken Rosewall to win a Grand Slam singles trophy.
Win No. 93: 2018 final, d. Marin Cilic (CRO) 62 67(5) 63 36 61
Federer dragged himself through an emotional wringer in just over three hours under a closed roof on Rod Laver Arena to savour his sixth crown in Melbourne, and 20th major championship overall. Federer summarised his thoughts prior to the final, saying: “My thoughts were all over the place all day. I was thinking, ‘What if I lost? What if I won?’ Like all day. By the time the match comes around, you’re a wreck.” Cilic, who waited two hours and 10 minutes to first break Federer’s serve, carried the momentum when he won five games in a row to force a deciding set. But Federer clung on to his serve at the start of the fifth set and got the key break in the following game, finishing the match with 24 aces among 41 winners. “Winning is an absolute dream come true,” said Federer, who, like his father in the crowd, soon broke down in tears. “The fairy-tale continues for us, for me. After the great year I had last year, it’s incredible. I’d like to thank Marin, another great tournament. World No. 3, that’s a hell of an achievement.”
Win No. 100: 2020 third round, d. John Millman (AUS) 46 76(2) 64 46 76(10-8)
What a way to complete a century of victories at Melbourne Park. Drawing upon his vast experience, the six-time former champion recovered an early break in the fifth set and fought back from 0/3 and 4/8 down in the fifth-set tie-break to break a three-match losing streak in fifth-set matches. “Oh God, it was tough," said Federer, after the match finished at 12:48 a.m. local time. "Thank God it was a Match Tie-break, otherwise I would have lost this one. Where to start? I think John played a great match… He is a great fighter, a good guy and it came down to the wire at the end. A bit of luck maybe goes one way. I had to stay so focused, take the right decision. He was doing all that stuff at the beginning of the Match Tie-break, coming up with the goods and I thought, ‘Okay, I guess I tried.’ I didn’t play too bad after all and I was getting ready to explain myself in the press conference… What a match and John deserves over half of this one.”
Editor's Note: This story was updated to correct an error. Federer's return from a knee injury was at the 2017 Australian Open, not the 2018 Australian Open, as originally written. (Thanks to our readers for alerting us to the mistake.)