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Federer triumphs in US Open

Roger Federer proudly poses with his trophy after winning the 2008 Men's US Open Final.

Roger Federer proudly poses with his trophy after winning the 2008 Men US Open.

The Swiss drops to the floor at the end of a fabulous exchange in celebration of his fifth consecutive US Open. It was a superb display from the second seed, who answered his critics in the best possible style. Murray has done himself proud and it would have taken a great display from any player in the world to have beaten Federer at his best tonight.

A fifth consecutive title  salvaged his season. A loss, and the silken Swiss would go home without a Grand Slam tournament title for the first time since 2002 — bolstering the notion that Spaniard Rafael Nadal is here to stay.

After a failure in Australia, an embarrassing loss in Paris, the end of his hegemony in London and a failure to grab singles gold in Beijing, second-ranked Federer arrives with questions swirling about what is wrong with his game, his head and his once impenetrable aura.

Federer, who won so often and so easily during his 237-week run atop the rankings that he often eschewed coaches and seemed indifferent to conditions, admitted Saturday that a little love from the crowd could help. “I think I need the support a little bit this year,” he said during a news conference.

Nadal, who took over the No. 1 ranking Aug. 18, has a chance to stamp his season as one for the ages after his wins at Paris and Wimbledon and the gold medal he captured in the Olympics in Beijing last month.