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Federer aims to clinch sixth title in Flushing Meadows

Second-seed Roger Federer has said he is entering the US Open extra-motivated after coming close to a sixth consecutive title at the event last year, only to lose the final to Argentine Juan Martin Del Potro.


AFP - Roger Federer enters the US Open with extra inspiration after coming within two points of a sixth consecutive title at the event last year only to lose the final.

"There's an little extra incentive for me to try to win it again after being two points away last year," Federer said Saturday, two days before the start of the year's final Grand Slam event on the Flushing Meadows hardcourts.

World number two Federer, a 16-time Grand Slam champion, won five US Open titles in a row before his reign was halted last year by Juan Martin Del Potro, who is unable to defend his crown this year due to a wrist injury.

"It was a disappointing loss for me. I felt like that was one of the finals I should have never lost," Federer said. "At the end, Del Potro played great and deserved the victory. It was a tough one to swallow.

"Defending champion or not, doesn't change a whole lot. It's about performing well and trying to win the US Open again. There's still a lot to play for. That's why I'm excited to be back in New York and feeling great."

The 29-year-old Swiss star begins his bid for a 64th career title against Argentina's Brian Dabul after winning a tuneup event a week ago at Cincinnati, his first crown since capturing the Australian Open at the start of the season.

"I'm feeling as good as I can prior to a Grand Slam," Federer said. "It's good to win titles but it's important that I'm playing well and I'm beating top guys once in a while."

Federer's quarter-final foe could be Swedish fifth seed Robin Soderling, who snapped the Swiss star's run of 23 consecutive Grand Slam semi-final runs by beating him in his year's French Open quarter-finals.

"It was important to learn from what happened in the French Open and Wimbledon," Federer said. "It was quite easy to get over the losses really. I had some excuses to some degree."

If Federer reaches his seventh US Open final in a row, he could face Rafael Nadal in the championship match. This is the only Grand Slam event where the two superstars have never played in the final.

"I think it would be great," Federer said. "We've played in all the other majors. I hope we do it this year."

Nadal won the French Open and Wimbledon crowns and hopes to become only the seventh man to complete a career Grand Slam by claiming his ninth Slam title and his first US Open crown.

"Him having won the last two, it will be interesting to see if he can win three this year," Federer said.

Nadal has never reached the US Open final, having been ousted in the semi-finals the past two years in his best showings.

"In New York, I consider that a success," Federer said. "If you can make it to the semis, you can make it to the final.

"Balls are faster here than they are at Wimbledon. That could be one of the problems for Rafa here in the past.

"On the hardcourts, he's a bit more vulnerable. It's a little harder to run through seven opponents."

Federer leads golf world number one Tiger Woods 16-14 in their rivalry of major titles, but a sex scandal surrounding Woods led to a divorce last Monday and distracted his play ahead of this week's event in suburban New York.

"He has had a tough situation the last few months but I'm sure he will get it back," Federer said.

Federer also touched on the internet video purporting to show him knocking an object off someone's head with a tennis ball during a commercial filming.

"I don't believe the amount of hits I got," Federer said. "I'm happy so many people have seen it, debated about it. It was shot in one or two takes. It was easy."

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