8 July 2012

Majestic Federer Too Good For Battling Murray

Swiss maestro Roger Federer proved to be too big an up-hill battle for Andy Murray as he came back from losing the first set to sweep to a four set win. A brilliant final swayed this way and that before Federer came through in flying colours thanks to some magnificent stroke-play. Murray fought hard but could not quite match the six-time winner's power and precision. 

With an illustrious crowd gathered that featured the likes of David and Victoria Beckham, the Middleton sisters, Sir Cliff Richards and David Cameron, the stage was set for an enthralling Wimbledon show-piece. The spectators got just what they wanted to start with as Murray broke an edgy-looking Federer to take an early lead before holding to consolidate his great start. The 16-time Grand Slam champion came roaring back immediately though to hold and then break to level the first set at two games all. The points were long and the games drawn out but it stayed on serve. In the eighth game Murray saved two break points in a game that went to deuce six times as Federer looked to be taking the upper hand. The home crowd were then sent into raptures as the Scot forced Federer to net a fore-hand to seal a break before serving out to take the first set 6-4.

The momentum was with the 25-year-old on the back of his first ever set in a Grand Slam final and he showed his battling qualities when he saved a break point in the second game of the second set. Federer showed his class though as he was forced to fight to keep himself on serve as he twice saved two break points; first for a 3-2, then 5-4 lead. With the score at 6-5 Federer came back from 30-0 down to break Murray with four straight points that included an unbelievable back-hand passing shot. He levelled the match with his first set point with a perfect drop-volley.

With the score at one-all in the third set the rains came and the players were forced off the court much to the crowd's disappointment. The decision was made for the roof to be closed and play resumed. It was felt that playing indoors was always going to be of a slight benefit for Federer who had not lost to Murray indoors since 2008. However Murray had never lost under the Centre Court roof and he will still have felt confident going into the re-start.

The match swung in the 30-year-old Swiss man's favour in an epic 10 deuce, 16-minute long game which he won with his sixth break point. Murray continued to battle but Federer's serve was in too good a shape as he finished off the third set in style with a thumping ace to seal it 6-3. The home favourite was still well in the match and managed to hang on early in the fourth set in the face of great adversity.

Federer proceeded to construct a brilliant return game capped off with a wonderful back-hand cross-court pass that left Murray bewildered. The break meant that the 30-year-old was serving with a 3-2 lead and comfortably extended that. Murray kept holding on to his serve by the skin of his teeth but it was clear that Federer was on the brink of a record-equalling seventh Wimbledon title. Murray was taken to deuce as he attempted to make Federer serve for the match but fought back to keep himself in with an outside chance. Murray took the opening point but the man on the other side of the net was simply too good and he took his 17th Grand Slam win and the world number one spot when he saw the Scot's fore-hand pass fly wide.

An emotional world number four was gracious in defeat and joked that he was 'getting closer' to that elusive major title. He congratulated Federer and said that 'he was not bad for a 30-year-old'. When asked if the pressure put on him by the British public had had a negative effect on him he replied: "It's not the people watching, they make it easier to play and the support has been incredible so thank you."

The champion paid tribute to his opponent and he acknowledged that: "He has done so well over the years and is so consistent... he will at least win one Grand Slam." He also said: "I think I played some of my best tennis. I could not be more happy. I have missed playing in the finals."

A magnificent player took a deserved seventh trophy and regained the world number one spot, ensuring that he will break the record number of weeks at the top of the rankings. The British number one produced a valiant performance but could not find a way through one of the greatest players to ever grace the game. Murray will return to London's famous grass courts in two weeks or so to try and bring Olympic glory to his country, but as for Wimbledon, he will just have to wait until next year.

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