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Federer left chasing Rafa -- on his own

Originally Published: March 12, 2009
By Bonnie D. Ford | ESPN.com

INDIAN WELLS, Calif. -- It wasn't long ago, in a not-so-distant galaxy, that Roger Federer strode out of the tunnel onto the stadium court at the U.S. Open accompanied by the doleful strains of Darth Vader's theme music.

The soundtrack was a tribute to Federer's near-invincibility from late 2004 through 2007. At the end of that stretch, the chief question was when, not whether, he would reach the mystical and record-breaking number of 15 Grand Slam titles.

But ...

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