Two of the world’s very best tennis dates battled it out on Rod Laver Arena for a place in the Australian Open final. The third seed Andy Murray took on second seed Roger Federer in a pulse racing semi-final that was sure to be of great viewing. Read on for our review of the match, which lasted around 4 hours, and made it the first time that Roger Federer had played two back-to-back five set matches.
The first set:
Early on in the first Murray was doing what he does so expertly – returning superbly. It was the Brit that managed to get a crucial early break, he made it 2-1 after forcing Federer into an unusual error. A string of fantastic serves pushed Andy into taking a 2 game advantage but it was short lived – the four time champion reduced the deficit to 3-2.
With both players gaining a greater foothold on the game and rallying long – the games were getting tighter, Roger recovered from two break points down to equal proceedings at 3-3 with a win on deuce. The level score line was quickly demolished by a rampant Murray, 5-3. A game won by Federer, to make it 5-4, didn’t proved to be too significant despite the one time grand slam winner leading 40-15. Afterwards, the set was won 6-4 by Britain’s number 1.
The second set:
Federer dusted himself down to win a break to open the second set. This set did turn out to be tightest of them all. Both players continually hit back at their opponent winning a game, with no players managing to break away into a comfortable lead. During the neck and neck games, Murray displayed a glimpse of class that could win the tournament – he hit some top draw winners, Federer did hit some but few compared to his competitor.
The set, that was destined for a tie break, contained some exhausting rallies. Tightness didn’t stop in this tie break – at 5-5 the Olympic gold medallist had an opportunity to edge closer to going two sets up but didn’t take it, he ridiculously missed a critical smash for Federer to return with a backhand in excellent fashion. It was the Swiss master who won the set, on a tie-break at 7-5.
The Third Set
He may have lost the set, but Murray did not lose focus, and both opponents continued to hold serve strongly up to Andy leading 3-2. At this point, he started serving with immense power and precision and forced numerous aces and he broke to love at 4-2. It was then just a question of the pair serving out the remainder of the set, although Murray continued with ace after ace and, when he finished the set off at 6-3, he was still had much more control over the match.
The Fourth Set
This was another tightly contested set, but from the start you wouldn’t think it. Federer wasn’t finished yet, and he began capitalising on every mistake Murray made, and it was soon 4-1 to the 17 time Grand Slam champion. Yet, again the momentum swung in favour of the rookie in this match, and he somehow managed to break even with Fed at 5-5, followed by breaking his serve, and he was now leading 6-5.
He continued until 30-0 and just two points from winning the match, but like at Wimbledon, it wasn’t that simple. As Federer produced one of his stunningly smooth backhands that inspired the crowd, and gave him the confidence to come back a break the Scot’s serve. Federer carried his momentum through the short stop before tie-break, and Murray – who seemed a little dazed at missing another opportunity – only won a meagre 2 points compared to Federer’s five.
The Fifth Set
Both Andy and Roger could feel the heat (literally and figuratively!) in the final set, but it was one of Federer’s usually crisp backhands that started Murray off well after he’d just held his serve, he was gifted the opportunity to win a break – and he did. Federer continued to mistime crucial shots throughout the set, whereas Murray’s record was virtually pristine.
After the match, which ended 6-4, 6-7, 6-3, 6-7, 6-2, Murray said: “ I’ve obviously lost some tough matches against him in Slams. So to win one, especially the way that it went tonight, was obviously nice. I’m sure both of us will play each other again in Slams, so it will help having won once against him.”