By Randy Walker
Roger Federer is on the verge of yet another tennis record.
Federer’s semifinal win over fellow Swiss Stan Wawrinka at the Western and Southern Financial Open in Cincinnati makes it all but certain that he will receive the No. 1 seeding at the US Open for a sixth time, breaking the Open Era record he shares with both John McEnroe and Pete Sampras.
The win guaranteed that Federer would keep the No. 1 world ranking next week, the ranking week used to determine seeding at the 2012 US Open. The U.S. Tennis Association traditionally seeds players for the US Open based strictly on the ATP rankings for men and the WTA rankings for women. The US Open seedings will be announced early next week, while the draw will be made Thursday, August 23. The tournament begins Monday, August 27.
Federer was seeded No. 1 at the US Open in 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2009. McEnroe was seeded No. 1 from 1981 to 1985, while Sampras received the top billing in 1994, 1996, 1997, 1998 and 1999.
In the history of the U.S. Championships dating back to 1881, only Bill Tilden was seeded No. 1 more times in men’s singles – eight times – from 1922 to 1927 and in 1929 and 1930 before the Open Era – or professional era – began in 1968. Rod Laver was also seeded No. 1 five times – 1961-1962 and 1968-1970. Seeding began in 1922 at the U.S. Championships.
Federer returned to the No. 1 ranking on July 9 after winning his record-tying seventh Wimbledon men’s singles title and record-extending 17thmajor singles title. Federer’s return to the No. 1 ranking allowed him to break the Sampras record for most weeks ranked No. 1 in the ATP rankings at 287 weeks. Federer has also reached a record 24 major singles finals and a record 32 major semifinals.
Federer has won the US Open five times – 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2008. He lost in the US Open final in 2009 to Juan Martin del Potro and was defeated in the US Open semifinals in 2010 and 2011 by Novak Djokovic, despite having match point in both matches.