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Roger Federer is closing in on Pete Sampras's records for career Wimbledon and Grand Slam titles. ((Anja Niedringhaus/Associated Press))

His reign waschallenged like never before, but Roger Federer remains the king of Wimbledon.

The top-ranked Swiss star captured his fifth straight title at London's All England Club with a grueling 7-6 (7), 4-6, 7-6 (3), 2-6, 6-2 victory Sunday over No. 2 seed Rafael Nadal of Spain.

With the win, Federer tied Bjorn Borg's record for the most consecutive Wimbledon men's championships in the Open era.He needs two more victories to tie Pete Sampras's Open-era record of seven career Wimbledon crowns.

"Each one is special," said Federer, who has won 34 straight matches at Wimbledon and 53 ina row on grass."To play a champion like Rafael in the final, it means even more to me."

With 11 Grand Slam titles under his belt, Federer is tied for third on the career list with Borg and Rod Laver. And Federer, whois one behind Roy Emerson and just three away from Sampras's all-time mark of 14, is showing no signs of slowing down.He has won 10 of the last 15 majors and reached the final in an incredible nine in a row.

Though Nadal came up short in the final for the second straight year, the three-time reigning French Open champion did something no other player has done during Federer's remarkable run of Wimbledon titles— take the world's best grass-court player to a fifth set.

"He's a fantastic player," Federer said of his 21-year-old opponent."He's going to be around for so much longer. I'm happy for every one I can take before he wins them all."

Despite playing for the fifth consecutive day, and being bothered by a sore right knee that required the trainer's attention late in the fourth set, Nadal battled to the end of the marathon final.

"I lost today, but I played a great two weeks," said Nadal.

The always-gameSpaniard had it even at 2-2 in the fifth before Federer held serve, then broke Nadal to take a commanding 4-2 lead.

Federer used his serve to blank Nadal in the next game, then broke him for the second straight time, blasting an overhead smash intothe open side of the courtto close out the match.

After hitting the winner, Federer fell to his knees, then got got up to embrace Nadal beforebreaking downin sobsas hesat down in his chairbeside the court.