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It was 6-2, 2-0 to Murray but Federer had 30-40 to break back and sat on a backhand pass that he let rip with every ounce of whip, spin and speed that his single hander could muster. On so many occasions, that backhand has flown in, the opponent's bubble has been pricked and Federer finds his way back into a game that his opponent has dominated. Not today. Today Andy Murray stuck out his racquet, somehow deadballed it off the middle of his racquet and the ball flopped on the other side leaving Federer with no chance.
No chance was exactly what Federer had today as Andy Murray played the match of his life to out gun and out play arguably the greatest player in tennis history to claim a most deserved and satisfying Olympic Gold. The Brit took the final in straight sets 6-2, 6-1, 6-4 finishing it all in perfect style with an ace in front of a vociferous home crowd that paid full tribute to Murray's fabulous display. Murray broke the final wide open with a 9 game streak through the first and second sets before breaking early in the third to hammer the final nail in the Federer coffin as he sailed home in style. For Federer it was somehow not to be as the one item missing from his overcrowded trophy cabinet continues to remain desperately out of reach.
It was all Murray today as the Scot who has finished second best so often in the past at the final hurdle of the biggest tournaments finally pulled it all together against the man who beat him in the final at Wimbledon last month. Such was his dominance that even the considerable skills, ability and aura of the great Federer were muted and not given the foggiest chance of expressing themselves. Murray remained ruthless, calm and inspired as he composed an almost Federeresque performance banishing his past demons in a display that bodes well for the future. Murray was composed in his post match speech but was considerably thrilled with his performance calling it â€œThe biggest win of my lifeâ€. He credited the crowd and the rest of the athletes for giving him the inspiration to raise his level and claim Gold.
Earlier, Juan Martin Del Potro who fell victim to Federer in the most exhilarating contest in the semi final defeated World No. 2 Novak Djokovic in straight sets to claim Argentina's first medal of the Games. The big Argentine sank to his knees as the emotions overflowed as he claimed his first ever Olympic medal.
The final began with the regularity on the scoreboard hiding the turbulence underneath as both Federer and Murray staved off breakpoints in the early exchanges to stay on serve. Federer looked to have recovered from Friday's gruelling encounter against Del Potro while Murray continued with his more aggressive avatar taking the fight to the World No.1. The commitment that Murray made to staying offensive worked wonders against Djokovic in the semis and paid dividends in the 6th game as he broke Federer with a forcing backhand that drew a Federer backhand error. Andy then consolidated his break with a couple of his biggest serves to take a 5-2 lead in the set. Murray then played a couple of inspired backhand as he broke Federer for the second time to completely tearaway from what looked at the start to be a tight contest.
At this stage Federer was playing some of the sloppiest tennis he has displayed in months. It was crucial that Federer got off to a solid start to arrest the Murray momentum at the start of the second set. Instead he flipped a straightforward putaway into the net and then sailed a backhand long to go down 0-30. Equally fortune favoured Murray as he benefited twice from the netcord to break Federer for a 3rd consecutive time to go up 6-2, 2-0 against the Wimbledon champion. It was crisis time for the Swiss and he responded by raising his level of play. In a 15 minute game Federer set up six break points only for Murray to dig deep into his resolve and bag of tricks to save them all to hold perhaps the most crucial game in the match. Murray was now on autopilot and had an answer to everything that the great man threw at him and despite Federer's most desperate efforts broke again and moved to 5-0 lead before Federer finally won his first game in 10. It was to be minor solace as Murray eventually won the second set 6-1 to take an iron grip on the match.
Federer began the third set aware that he could not afford any more mistakes and that he needed to string together yet another famous comeback from the brink if he was to realise his Olympic dream. But this was perhaps his sternest challenge yet as he played an opponent who not only had his measure physically but also in skill and right now mentally too. He began the right way holding serve to atleast keep himself in the contest as Murray searched for the final nail to hammer into the Federer coffin. That final nail manifested itself in the 5th game as he set up 15-40 with a pair of wonderful forehands before hammering a magnificent cross court backhand to break the Federer serve to give himself a clear run through to the finish line. The Brit's serve remained untouchable as he won 16 straight points to go up 5-3 as Federer served to stay in the final. Federer held to force Murray to serve it out and briefly set the cat amidst the pigeons as he ripped a forehand return to 15/15. But Murray was not to be denied as he smacked 3 un-returnables to take the final and the Gold medal in style.
Gold Medal Match: A.Murray (GBR) d R.Federer (SUI) 6/2, 6/1, 6/4
Bronze Medal Match: J.M.Del Potro (ARG) d N.Djokovic (SRB) 7/5, 6/4
File Photograph Copyright: Mark Brocklehurst
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