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French clock ticking for Swiss Express
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Pete Sampras tried 13 times to win a French Open and 13 times he failed.

Roger Federer, who is surely destined to surpass the American's 14 Grand Slam titles, is about to embark on his 10th attempt to solve the intricate mysteries of the Roland Garros clay.

However, it's the world No 1's misfortune that his campaign to go one better than Sampras has consistently run into the Spanish brick wall that is Rafael Nadal, the triple champion.

Federer has lost the last two finals to the 21-year-old.

The 12-time Grand Slam title winner, is also enduring, by his lofty standards, a poor season having lost his Australian Open title, suffered glandular fever and been beaten by Nadal in the finals in Monte Carlo and Hamburg.

"Many people say that this year is the beginning of the end. What do you think?," asked a reporter when Federer was knocked out of the Rome Masters in the quarterfinals by Radek Stepanek, a man best known for being Martina Hingis' ex-fiance.

"Next question, please," fired back Federer.

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