Wimbledon-Federer out to spoil Roddick's party
By Pritha Sarkar
LONDON, July 3 (Reuters) - Champion Roger Federer will be out to gatecrash Andy Roddick's Fourth of July celebrations in the Wimbledon final on Sunday.
The Swiss is aiming to get his hands on the gold Challenge Cup for the second successive year with victory over the American on his country's Independence Day.
When the grasscourt championships began last week, there were 126 other players in the draw who were determined to stop a final showdown between Federer and Roddick.
However, after 13 days of on-court drama, the top two seeds will contest the men's final at Wimbledon for the first time since 1982.
That final 22 years ago proved to be a thriller with Jimmy Connors overcoming fellow American John McEnroe in five action-packed sets.
On Sunday, Wimbledon will be hoping for another epic when the brute power of Roddick comes face to face with the sheer craftsmanship of Federer.
Federer, who won the Australian Open earlier this year, has been unbeaten on the slick surface since falling to Croatia's Mario Ancic in the first round here in 2002.
He will be entering Centre Court on the back of a 23-match winning streak on grass and has so far looked simply unbeatable at the All England Club.
"I always feel that my opponent has a chance," said the world number one. "Of course this year has been fantastic for me. It's still very difficult for me to understand why and how come that I'm so dominant this year.
"But every match I go with the same attitude out on court. I know my opponent will try everything to beat me.
"If there are days where I'm not going to play well, I might lose. I know this can happen any day."
Roddick will certainly be hoping Federer has one of his rare off days as the American has only beaten the Swiss once in six previous meetings.
Last year the pair met in the semis and Federer was in irresistible form as he dished out a masterclass in grasscourt tennis to the American.
Roddick had the best view in the country when he was handed a 7-6 6-3 6-3 drubbing by the eventual champion.
A year on, Roddick believes they have both matured as players. It will also be the first time the duo would have met since Federer dislodged the American from the top of the world rankings earlier this year.
"We've both become better players than since last year," said the 21-year-old Roddick. "We've both played a lot of big matches. Whatever I've been through, he's been through as well. We've kind of shadowed each other."
"We do play different types of games. He's more flash, feel and artistry. The one advantage I have over him is just hitting the crap out of the ball. I'm going to have to try and play to my strengths."
Both players have dropped one set en route to the final -- Federer to Lleyton Hewitt in the quarter-finals and Roddick to Ancic in the last four.
While Federer chases his third major trophy, U.S. Open champion Roddick will be gunning for his second.
"These are the moments I work hard and live for. It's going to be a great match," said Federer.