Magic Murray is Golden in London, Del Po takes Bronze
Steen Kirby, TennisEastCoast.com
Andy Murray earned the biggest win of his career over Roger Federer 6-2, 6-1, 6-4, in the Olympic final on home turf at Wimbledon to earn the much deserved gold medal in an emotional victory. The raucous crowd urged their man on in their home Olympic games as he delivered a confident, methodical and smashing win over the man many have called the king of grass, avenging his loss in the Wimbledon final one month ago.
Murray broke twice in the first set and the second break closed the set out at 6-2. Then, he proceeded to roll an entire set of games in a row on Federer in the second. The key breakthrough came as Federer was unable to break Murray during a very long game early in the second set. In the third, the tennis was a bit more closely matched, but it was Murray who was top class, breaking midway through the third and then proceeding to confidently serve it out. He closed out the match with three smashing aces that Federer couldn’t answer.
Murray’s play was at his highest level. He was moving well, volleying brilliantly, including some extremely nifty flick volleys, and hitting from the baseline with excellence. While he did not serve the highest percentage, he got the aces when he needed them and managed to stave off any break points Federer received.
It was quite a different Roger Federer from the one who beat Murray in four sets just one month ago at Wimbledon on the grass. One has to wonder if his marathon match against Juan Martin Del Potro in the semis took something out of him, but either way his play was stuck in third gear most of the match with too many errors and a failure to capitalize on the chances he did have.
For Federer, it is a tough loss and a big blow to him as he was gunning hard for an Olympic gold in singles, one of the few accomplishments he has not achieved in his career and something that clearly meant a lot to him. Even in defeat, he remained sportsmanlike and still gets a well-deserved silver medal.
As for “Magic Murray”, he gets a much needed confidence boost and hopefully relieves a great deal of pressure. Even though the Olympics isn’t a grand slam event, the quality of the field and the tennis he had to play to win Gold was very similar, as was the feeling around the importance of the event. He will have a chance at the US Open and beyond as he got past his rivals Federer and Djokovic. You really have to hand it to the British crowd for pulling him and Team Great Britain through in the home Olympics.
In order to make the final, Federer beat Alejandro Falla in three tough sets, Julien Benneteau (who didn’t trouble him this time like he did at Wimbledon), Denis Istomin, last American standing John Isner, and Del Potro in a marathon match 3-6, 7-6, 19-17. Both Del Potro and Federer had chances to win in the third set, and Federer choked away a lot of break points but finally converted and managed to pull it off. After his victory over Del Potro, Federer was choked up during his post match interview while Del Potro walked off the court amid tears and apparently cried for many hours more.
Murray beat Stan Wawrinka, Jarkko Nieminen, Marcos Baghdatis, Nicolas Almagro and confidently handled Novak Djokovic 7-5, 7-5 to make the final. Murray dueled serves with Djokovic and broke him at the end of both sets to win. Both guys played some skillful tennis and expended a lot of energy in the semi.
In the bronze match, Juan Martin Del Potro took it over Novak Djokovic 7-5, 6-4. Showing little signs of fatigue or depression after playing two long matches the day before, including a 19-17 third set loss to Federer in the singles semi. At four hours and change, it was a record setting match in length. Del Potro’s victory assured that there has been a medalist from South America in men’s singles the past three Olympic Games.
Djokovic will certainly be disappointed after two tough losses back to back and failing to repeat as bronze medalist, but he still did well to make it as far as he did. Djokovic also survived a third round test against the tenacious Lleyton Hewitt, 4-6, 7-5, 6-1. Hewitt nearly knocked him off and turned back the clock.
In the men’s doubles, the Bryan Brothers took the gold and completed the career slam over the exciting Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Michael Llodra, who took silver. Another French team of Julien Benneteau and Richard Gasquet took the bronze medal over David Ferrer and Feliciano Lopez. Tsonga played a lot of tennis himself, including a 25-23 third set win over Milos Raonic in singles, the second most games in a set behind the epic Isner-Mahut match at Wimbledon a couple of years back.
The two French teams produced plenty of flair in the 2012 Olympics and their winning celebrations were quite a thing to behold as were many of their shots. http://morganemoulin.tumblr.com/post/28693623174/jo-wilfried-tsonga-and-michael-llodra (Tsonga/Llodra celebration)
Lastly, in mixed doubles, Murray and his partner, the young and talented 18-year-old British player, Laura Robson, fell in a tight match to Belarusians Max Mirnyi and Vika Azarenka, who were thrilled with their gold medal. Azarenka also won the bronze in women’s singles, while Mirnyi was the flag bearer for Belarus and played in what he says will be his final Olympics. It is worth noting that the team of Murray/Robson was a mixed doubles wild card while Mirnyi/Azeranka were the top seeds, so it was a good result for both teams. Americans Mike Bryan and Lisa Raymond took the bronze over Germans Christopher Kas and Sabine Lisicki.
Murray (gold and silver), Mike Bryan (gold and bronze), Serena Williams (singles gold and ladies doubles gold) and Azarenka (gold and bronze) all walked away with more than one medal in the Olympic tennis event.