Murray v Federer:
Its about time they had another battle. Murray leads the head to heads 8-6. The last time they played was in the 2010 World Tour Finals and it was Federer who won easily in 2 sets.
Murray won 6 of their first 8 matches. Since then its 4-2 Federer. Murray’s two wins in that period were both finals with one of them being in Shanghai where he seems particularly comfortable.
I have read a lot of comments this morning about how well Murray is playing this week. Really? Have we been watching the same matches? In his match against Berdych both players were poor. The tight scoreline could have gone either way. If Berdych had played anywhere near his normal 2012 form Murray would have come off second best.
Then we hear how well Murray played against world number 1 Djokovic. Really? In the opening games Djokovic was in total control, holding his first 2 service games to 0. Then something happened in his head. All of a sudden he couldn’t make simple returns and his serve lost its bite. He was broken twice to lose the set. He then just about threw away his first service game of the second set. Murray is a confidence player and seeing Djokovic falling apart on the other side of the net boosted that confidence and lifted him. His serve started to flow and he took control.
However we shouldn’t forget that Murray led 5-2 in the second set and Djokovic, despite playing the worst match we have seen from him in well over a year, was able to claw it back. The Serb was serving to take the set into a tie break but was again broken.
So yes Murray has served well but against 2 opponents who were having a nightmare day at the office. I should also point out that I tipped both Berdych and Djokovic to win so I take full responsibility!
Murray has done nothing special in reaching this final. The absence of Mr Lendl at courtside has seen Murray slipping back a little to old ways. Holding his knee against Berdych when he lost a point but then skipping around like a gazelle when he won one. Against Djokovic there wasn’t as much of that ( but then Djokovic was crumbling before our eyes) although when Murray was down 15-40 on his own serve he appeared to have been shot in the knee by a sniper. If the lad grows a pair of balls he will probably moan that they are hurting. Lendl keeps all that crap in check. Murray respects him and wants to impress him. He needs him in the stands today. He isn’t there.
Federer won in Rotterdam embarrassing Del Potro in the final. He then took a week off before Dubai. This guy knows how to plan his schedule. Three of his four opponents this week have been in great form. Llodra had served like Raonic in Marseille. He was bageled in the first set by Fed although took the second to a tie break and had a set point.
Lopez was able to keep the score respectable in the second round. Youzhny is another recent title winner who Federer made look very ordinary in their quarter final.
Many thought that Del Potro was in the form to beat Federer this time. His serve has been excellent and his groundstrokes looked so solid against Tsonga. He pushed Federer all the way and the Swiss number 1 was finding it hard to get a grip of the big serves. Federer’s own serve has been as good as we have seen from him.
It seemed inevitable that we were going to a tie break and that proved to be the case. Federer took the set. In the second set Federer had break points but wasn’t able to convert. In the third game of the set Del Potro had to come back from 0-40 on his own serve to hold.
Another tie break. Del Potro took a 5-0 lead and it looked like we were going to a third set but Federer found another gear. He won 8 of the next 9 points saving 4 set points to win the tie break and the match.
Murray has proved in the past that he is able to beat Federer in finals. He may be able to take the match but will have to play at a higher level than he has shown so far this week. I also feel that Federer would have to have a poor match for Murray to be in with a chance. Federer is serving superbly and his groundstrokes, especially in the important points, are great to watch. He is timing the ball so well.
Its not every day you get Federer at 1.79 from the start. We have this price because of the head to head record and because of Murray beating Djokovic yesterday but if you look at the details it looks like a generous price to me.
Update: Both played a decent match and Murray perhaps looked a little better in the first half of the opening set. As usual Federer played the big points so well and won a late break. He served out the set.
In the second set he got an early break but seemed to lose concentration for a couple of games and was Murray broke back. Federer broke again and served for the match.
Federer won 7-5, 6-4.