Facebook Social Button Twitter Social Button YouTube Social Button Follow Me on Pinterest

Murray Downs Federer in Five to Reach Australian Open Final

Andy Murray defeated Roger Federer in five sets to reach the Australian Open final, 6-4, 6-7(5), 6-3, 6-7(2), 6-2.

By Chris Oddo

Andy Murray, 2013 Australian Open semifinal (January 25, 2013) -- Andy Murray booked a place in his sixth career Grand Slam final with a 6-4, 6-7(5), 6-3, 6-7(2), 6-2 victory over Roger Federer on Friday night in the Australian Open semifinals. The victory was Murray’s first in a Grand Slam against Federer after losing the first three, all in finals.

The 25-year-old Scotsmen, now a perfect 10-0 for 2013, controlled play for much of the four-hour affair, but an opportunistic Federer managed to keep things tight by winning tiebreakers in the second and fourth sets.

Playing in his record 33rd consecutive Grand Slam semifinal, Federer had to fight off constant pressure from Murray. Ultimately, that pressure seemed to take its toll on him.

If Murray’s impressive physicality was the story in a deciding set that saw the third-seed hit five more winners and three more aces than Federer, his serve was the story throughout this match. He out-aced Federer by a whopping 21 to 5, but thanks to some clutch maneuvering by Federer, Murray couldn’t convert on his first opportunity to serve for the match in the fourth set.

After breaking Federer at love to move ahead 6-5 while serving for the match in set four, Murray found himself quickly facing a break point when Federer painted the sideline with a down the line backhand winner.

Murray committed one of his 43 unforced errors to surrender the break on the next point.

“When his back was against the wall--6-5 when I was serving for it--he came up with some unbelievable shots,” Murray told Jim Courier on the court after the match.

Federer, who has won six of sever career tiebreaks against Murray, then reeled off five straight points in the fourth-set tiebreak to force the decider.

“He played so solid in the tiebreak, so I just had to keep fighting,” said Murray. “I just stuck in.”

The whole match was a challenge for Federer, as Murray repeatedly put him on the defensive with big serves, big groundstrokes, and an aggressive mindset. Murray didn’t allow a break point in the first three sets, and if it weren’t for a bedazzling Federer backhand passing shot at 5-5 in the second set tiebreaker that helped him level the match at a set apiece, the match might have been much shorter than four hours.

Murray, who hadn't dropped a set all tournament long, was a well-oiled machine up until that critical point in the second set, playing with controlled aggression and keeping Federer on his back foot for much of the points. He broke in the third game of the first set for a 2-1 lead and kept up the pressure, knocking back the only break point he faced in the first set and out-acing Federer five to zero.

On set point, he boomed a big serve down the T that Federer couldn’t handle for a 1-0 lead.

In the second set the fresh-legged Scot rode his serve some more, and when he needed go deep in rallies, he was doing that too. Murray didn't face a break point and clocked 17 winners for the set, but Federer was concocting plenty of world-class shotmaking from his side as well.

The 17-time Grand Slam champion didn't face a break point either, and he took the early 4-1 lead in the second-set tiebreaker when Murray suddenly lost his focus and sailed two consecutive forehands long.

But Murray won his next two service points with winners, and recovered the mini-break when a Federer backhand plopped into the net for 4-4.

It was moments later, at 5-5, that Federer got a toehold in the match.

The point of the match occurred when Murray's ill-advised attempt at an acrobatic overhead smash on a ball that appeared to be going long led to a gorgeous one-hand backhand winner from Federer that rocketed past a Murray at the net.

As the crowd buzzed, Federer served out the set on the next point. It was the fifth tiebreak victory in six tiebreak sets against Murray, and it breathed new life into the match, but it wouldn't rattle the Scot enough to send him astray.

Murray secured a crucial break in the sixth game of the third set when a Federer backhand down the line landed between the tramlines. It would be all Murray needed, as he won seven of his final eight service points to take a two sets to one lead.

In set four, the rivals traded breaks, with Murray breaking back in the seventh game when his ripped forehand glanced off Federer's frame.

They would trade breaks again in the 11th and 12th game, and after Federer’s took the breaker 7-2, he began the deciding fifth set with the momentum on his side.

It wouldn’t last long.

Murray, looking younger, fitter and stronger than Federer at this point, quickly took control with an early break and raced out to a 3-0 lead in the fifth set. Things looked bleak for Federer, who was playing back-to-back five-setters for the first time in his career at the age of 31. They got bleaker when Murray ripped a winner off a Federer second serve to earn two match points in the eighth game.

Two points later, A last-ditch Federer forehand sailed long and it was over.

Murray’s 11th win in 20 career matches over Federer sets up the second Grand Slam final between Murray and Novak Djokovic

“This has been the court he’s played his best tennis on,” said Murray of the World No. 1 and two-time defending champion in Australia. “I’ll obviously have to play my best tennis to win. Every time we play with each other it’s normally a very physical match. I’ll need to be ready for the pain.”


(Photo Credit: EPA)


 

News Headlines

Latest Blog Posts