Trying hard not to get too excited writing this one as Roger Federer dispatched Andy Murray 7-5, 7-5, 6-4 to make his 10th Wimbledon final at the All England Club.
In what must surely be one of his best Grand Slam performances of the last five years the Swiss delivered a stunning display to maintain his 100% record in SW19 semi finals and setup a rematch from last year against defending champion Novak Djokovic in Sunday's showpiece.
Quick Match Recap
Murray won the toss and elected to receive, creating a break point in the opening game with some solid returning despite Roger not missing a single first serve. The Swiss however made deuce with an ace before holding for 1-0.
Murray soon levelled before Roger held to 30 for a 2-1 lead. Both guys were out the blocks fast playing solid tennis and at 2-2 Roger fired down a love hold to really find his rhythm on serve.
Plenty of high quality tennis ensued with Roger finding all 4 corners of the box landing first serves at will and perhaps just as importantly getting Murray's first serves back into play. At 6-5 Federer 0-15 Murray serving the Swiss came up with a genius backhand flicked pass up the line and at 15-30 punished a tame second serve with a run around forehand. Murray saved the first with a nice pass off a Federer chip charge play but he couldn't stave off the second as Roger broke to take the set 7-5.
Breaking to win the set meant Roger was again serving first at the start of the second and he maintained momentum with a love hold to kick things off. Murray was immediately in trouble at 15-30 but he held before Fed then delivered another clinical service game for 2-1.
Roger continued the trend of punishing Murray's second serves to create a break point in game 4 but he couldn't convert. The scoreboard then moved quickly to 4-5 Murray serving and what turned out to be the longest game of the match. Fed swiftly moved to 0-40, hitting an age-defying forehand on the run at 0-15. Murray however wasn't going to drop serve without a fight, saving the first 3 set points and then saving a further 2 before eventually holding for 5-5.
At the time it felt like a huge hold for Murray that could switch momentum, yet Roger fired down a love hold with some outrageous shotmaking to take a 6-5 lead. Hard to really put into words how he just walked up to the service line and delivered a flawless game after not breaking serve.
That immediately put pressure back on Murray and at 15 all Roger correctly challenged a superb backhand down the line winner that was wrongly called out. The Swiss then had his 6th set point at 30-40 which he converted with a peRFectly constructed point that ended with a volley put away after a big forehand. 2 sets to love.
With Roger again serving first he held to 15 to lead 1-0. Murray then fired down a love hold to level and both players exchanged holds up until 4-4; Roger coming up with some absolutely ridiculous points in the process.
In game 9 Fed kept up the heat on serve holding to 15 with yet more composed play and with Murray serving to stay in it he dropped the first point before Fed came up with a backhand flick cross court pass on the run that left Murray stunned. The Scot won the next point but Fed then created his first match point hitting a firm backhand return which was converted when Murray went wide with an inside out forehand. Game, set, match Federer 7-5 7-5 6-4.
|MATCH STATISTICS||Andy Murray||Roger Federer|
|1ST SERVES IN||79/107 (74 %)||69/91 (76 %)|
|1ST SERVE POINTS WON||56/79 (71 %)||58/69 (84 %)|
|2ND SERVE POINTS WON||14/28 (50 %)||12/22 (55 %)|
|NET POINTS WON||8/11 (73 %)||29/42 (69 %)|
|BREAK POINTS WON||0/1 (0 %)||3/10 (30 %)|
|RECEIVING POINTS WON||21/91 (23 %)||37/107 (35 %)|
|TOTAL POINTS WON||91||107|
|DISTANCE COVERED (METRES)||1972.2||2098.4|
|DIST. COVERED/PT. (METRES)||10||10.6|
Shot of the Match
Thoughts on the Match
WOW! Where to begin with this one? Like I said in the intro surely one of Roger's best slam matches in the last 5 years but I don't want to get too far ahead of myself as there's still one more match to play here and it's the most important one of the lot 🙂
In terms of today Roger was just playing tennis from another planet from start to finish, making 76% of first serves and striking the ball beautifully off both wings.
Murray is one of the best returners in the game and he didn't get a look in apart from the single break point in the opening game. In fact he barely got a racquet on the ball as Roger just came up with the goods time and time again. Even when Murray did make him play Fed just had the confidence and conviction in his groundstrokes to take it to him on both wings and end the points on his terms.
Roger also returned exceptionally well too, taking up an aggressive position on both first and second serves; returning 125mph first serves like they were nothing and punishing second serves with run around forehands and clean backhand winners. Murray just had nowhere to go.
I said in my prediction that movement was going to be a big part of Fed's game if he was to win alongside the obvious high first serve % and forehand combo working well and he got about the court superbly, moving explosively out the corners and striking the ball sweetly on the run. That forehand on the move he hit at 0-15 4-5 Murray serving was just incredible.
As for Murray I think he just lost to the better tennis player. He played a high level match that gets it done against virtually everyone else on tour; saving multiple set points at 4-5 with some incredible gets and shotmaking but he was up against the Baryshnikov of our sport with a magic wand for a racket at age 33 putting off father time out there. 😆
Predictions vs. Djokovic
So the man that awaits is Novak Djokovic who comfortably defeated Richard Gasquet in the first semi final of the day. Fully expected result and you can't really read too much into how well Djokovic is playing off the back of it; he owns Gasquet and is simply too solid. Perhaps the only thing of note is Djokovic taking a medical timeout when he was leading by a set and a break for a left shoulder problem. Seems unlikely to be tactical at that moment but who knows whether it's an issue.
As for Sunday I'm not going to go into H2H, strategy and all that jazz. They've played 39 times previous and basically there are no secrets on court between the two – the player who comes up with the best tennis on the day wins. It happened in last years Wimbledon final, Shanghai 2014, Dubai 2014 + 15, Indian Wells 2014 + 15, Rome 2015 and plenty others too. Fed will look to play aggressive and serve well whereas Djokovic will look to find his metronomic groove from the back of the court hitting with depth and power to continually put Roger under pressure.
All I'm hoping for is a fair match and may the best man win. I'll leave you with a cool quote from a Roddick, who I enjoyed in the commentary box today:
You always hope that the way people are portrayed on the television and in the media is true. With Roger Federer… it is true.
Allez la suisse!