(July 8th, 2012) Despite Andy Murray putting in his best performance ever in a Grand Slam final, it was Roger Federer who once again proved he is the master of grass court tennis as he claimed his 17th Major title with yet another victory at Wimbledon.
|By Erik Gudris
||Photo Credit: Getty Images
It was Murray who came out with all his weapons firing during Federer's opening service while Federer, perhaps feeling the pressure of being the favorite, hit two nervy forehand errors to give the Scot the first game. But Murray, perhaps a bit too amped up competing in his first Wimbledon final, overhit in the third game after being up 40-15 on his serve and gave the break back.
The first real test of Murray's quest for the title came while he was serving at 3-4. Unable to find a first serve, Murray endured an over nine minute game that saw Federer rush the net several times in what would be a key strategy for the six-time champion. But it was Federer's forehand that would let him down as he netted to let Murray off the hook.
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At 4-all, Murray stepped up the aggression and aimed a passing shot right at Federer's head, a move right out of Murray's coach Ivan Lendl's playbook. Murray got the break back and went on to serve out his first ever winning set in a Major final in just under an hour of play.
Federer's struggles continued into the second set as his forehand up to that moment had only earned him two winners, forcing the Swiss to rely on his backhand more often in the extended rallies. Murray had a golden chance to convert on a break point at 4-all again, but overhit on a backhand down the line attempt.
Federer held and later with Murray serving to force a tiebreak, it was Federer who constructed a brilliant side to side rally that moved Murray all over the court before Federer won the game and the set with an exquisite drop volley winner.
At 1-all in the third set, the expected afternoon rain set in and the decision was made by officials to close the Centre Court roof. When the players returned after a forty minute delay, it was clear right away that the indoor conditions suited Federer's serve much better as his first serve percentage rose to 88%.
The key game of the set and perhaps the match was at 3-2 when Murray, after holding a 40-0 lead, was forced into a nearly 20 minute game by Federer due to the strength of Federer's returns on the Scot's second serves. Murray slipped several times on the court and despite saving multiple break points, finally capitulated giving Federer the lead. Federer went on to serve out the set 6-3.
Despite Murray continuing to fight on, including just missing on an early break point at the start of the fourth set, it was Federer who went into full flight, appearing to glide all over court as his forehand, missing in the first set, now cracked winners whenever Federer wanted them. Federer, with a crisp passing shot, broke Murray again to go up 3-2 and the ending felt at hand.
Murray had looks into Federer's service games but would never get another break point chance. After holding to love to force Federer to serve for the title at 5-4, the Centre Court crowd erupted into a chant of "Andy, Andy, Andy". But despite all of Great Britain's hopes for a British champion, it was Federer who quickly jumped out to a 40-15 lead. Federer netted on the first match point, but it was final forehand from Murray that sailed long that proved to be the clincher as Federer earned a 4-6, 7-5, 6-3, 6-4 victory and with it his seventh Wimbledon title.
An emotional Murray broke down into tears when asked to describe his efforts on the day in the trophy ceremony. "Getting closer," was all he could manage to say at first before tears overwhelmed him again as it did many fans and Murray's mother on hand in the friends box.
"It's a magical moment for me," said Federer on court as he described the feeling of winning his seventh title and thus tying Pete Sampras's record for the most Wimbledon titles won by any man in the Open era. Federer's win also will return him to the No. 1 ranking on Monday and he will also tie Sampras again for spending 286 weeks in the top spot.