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Flat Murray falls to fluid Federer

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Grabcopy
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Flat Murray falls to fluid Federer « on: March 03, 2012, 04:58 PM »
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Perhaps it was the rigours of beating Berdych and Djokovic back to back. Perhaps Federer was just too fluid. Whatever it was, Andy Murray looked a little flat as he went down 7-5 6-4 in the final of the Dubai Duty Free Championships today.

Where Murray was safe, Federer went for broke. Where the Scot was impatient, Federer was all controlled aggression. Instead of a swift transition to the forecourt, Murray fought a rearguard action in the backcourt.

It all added up to a litany of missed opportunities, squandered break points and desperate defending from Murray, who began aggressively but increasingly found himself forced too deep to penetrate Federer's imperious ground game.

The British number one opened the match confidently enough, perched on the white paint of the baseline like a baseball pitcher whipping slingshots into the outfield. But, in truth, it simply wasn't happening for Murray today. And, when it doesn't flow, you have to find a way to make it shift.

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The world number four had done that by handcuffing Federer into his backhand corner, and he engineered two break points at 2-3 on the Swiss star's serve. But the four-time Dubai champion snuffed out the flame just as soon as it began to flicker, with some stretching groundshots and scud-like serving.

At 5-5, Federer got lucky. After a Murray double fault and another of many wayward Scottish backhands, Federer miscued a short return that the Scot could only prod into the tramlines, to go down 0-40.

Murray pulled it back to deuce but Federer's pressure was relentless. Another short return at break point forced the 24-year-old to chip and charge. Buckling under the weight of a colossal Swiss forehand, the Scot lunged for a backhand volley that landed long by a bee's eyebrow, and Federer mopped up the set with a slick service game.

At 1-1 in the second set, yet more backhands found the net from the racket of the British number one, and Federer had his break. With the Swiss not having lost his serve since the semi-finals of Rotterdam, the writing loomed large on the wall.

But Murray had other ideas and threw in an inspired game to break for 3-3 that featured the point of the match. At 30-30, the Scot hit an improbable return, scrambled to hoik a monster lob from a drop shot and rounded off with an adept stop volley. One more towering lob later and the game scores were locked.

It was not to be, though. While Murray gamely traded blow for blow with the 16-time slam champ, he threw in a scrawny service game at 4-4 and, when Federer followed up with a serving masterclass, it was game over.

Murray will reflect on a positive week in the Emirates, but will need to look more closely at his game plan for countering Federer, especially on a fast court crying out for the Scot's swift transition game.

Perhaps, too, with more direct involvement from coach Lendl, a strategy might have been devised that could have pulled a diamond from the desert dust.
[ Last edit by Grabcopy March 03, 2012, 11:02 PM ] IP Logged
Iris
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Re: Flat Murray falls to fluid Federer « Reply #1 on: March 03, 2012, 05:48 PM »
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Great report Nigel, particularly the last two paragraphs.  Onwards and upwards for Andy.
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Alis
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Re: Flat Murray falls to fluid Federer « Reply #2 on: March 03, 2012, 05:56 PM »
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I think the week just caught up with Andy today - he just didn't play well enough.  Still loads of positives to take from it and he's in a much better place than he was this time last year. 

I really hope he gives Dubai a miss next year.  I would have thought that staying in the States and either training or playing a tournament there would be much better preparation for IW and Miami than flying half way around the world and back for a week.
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deb
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Re: Flat Murray falls to fluid Federer « Reply #3 on: March 03, 2012, 05:59 PM »
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Thanks Nigel very good account of today's match.Very proud of Andy this week, maybe to much to ask for wining the title but so much to take from it.
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ChrisMac
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Re: Flat Murray falls to fluid Federer « Reply #4 on: March 03, 2012, 06:09 PM »
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Good report Nigel. Wish Andy had come in to the net more, he just doesn't know how good and effective he is doing that.
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Re: Flat Murray falls to fluid Federer « Reply #5 on: March 03, 2012, 06:10 PM »
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aww, what a shame. but as much as fed may've played well i feel like murray was NEVER at his best in this match. he didn't serve nearly as good as he did versus nole. and yet it was still just one break that decided each set. thus if murray played better i feel like he could've won. he was just a little "flat" today for whatever reason. anyhow congrats to him on reaching the final.

best of luck going forward andy! come on and climb over fed and rafa so you and nole can stand at the top!!  yay go!!
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Re: Flat Murray falls to fluid Federer « Reply #6 on: March 03, 2012, 06:14 PM »
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Good report as ever, Nigel.

I still feel as stated in the other thread that Andy was up against the week's schedule. This was the first and only time Andy had to play in a night arena; whereas Federer played all his matches at night except for one. Further Andy's first serve %age was 48% as opposed to his serving against Djokovic at 71%.

During this match, his aggressive stance as adopted in previous matches apart from that versus Berrer seemed to have deserted him.

Never mind, he will have Lendl by his side at Indian Wells and Miami. Forward!!!
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Re: Flat Murray falls to fluid Federer « Reply #7 on: March 03, 2012, 06:19 PM »
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Also Lendl will have watched this match and pointed out what Andy did wrong.
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Alis
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Re: Flat Murray falls to fluid Federer « Reply #8 on: March 03, 2012, 06:31 PM »
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I don't think Lendl is going to be at Indian Wells.
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Re: Flat Murray falls to fluid Federer « Reply #9 on: March 03, 2012, 06:45 PM »
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It's a shame that Andy couldn't maintain yesterday's form -in particular his serve and bh going awol - and that he seemed so flat, as Nigel said.  If he had played like yesterday he could have beaten Fed.  Not sure how much it was, as I feared, that he wasn't used to the conditions and how much just that one of those off days.  Will be interested to see what he says in the post-match interview.  But all said and done, I feel this has been a good week for Andy -seeing off his potential nemesis Berdych and beating Nole convincingly.  And think back to how we were all feeling this time last year and 2 years ago.  Would have given my right hand for Andy to have been runner up here!  So all in all well done Andy  yay and just sorry you couldn't maintain the momentum today.
Btw how graceless can smugfed get?   Andy was gracious in defeat in his speech; smugfed didn't even mention Andy as if he'd not been there.  Still perhaps better than him patronising or dismissive.

Re IW - I'd understood that Mr L was going to be there for masters events and seems odd not to be when it's in the US.  But it did say in Guardian he'd not be hooking up with andy again till monte carlo, which is even odder as he's based in florida I thought so handy for Miami.
[ Last edit by Ruthie March 03, 2012, 06:48 PM ] IP Logged
deb
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Re: Flat Murray falls to fluid Federer « Reply #10 on: March 03, 2012, 06:50 PM »
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It's a shame that Andy couldn't maintain yesterday's form -in particular his serve and bh going awol - and that he seemed so flat, as Nigel said.  If he had played like yesterday he could have beaten Fed.  Not sure how much it was, as I feared, that he wasn't used to the conditions and how much just that one of those off days.  Will be interested to see what he says in the post-match interview.  But all said and done, I feel this has been a good week for Andy -seeing off his potential nemesis Berdych and beating Nole convincingly.  And think back to how we were all feeling this time last year and 2 years ago.  Would have given my right hand for Andy to have been runner up here!  So all in all well done Andy  yay and just sorry you couldn't maintain the momentum today.
Btw how graceless can smugfed get?   Andy was gracious in defeat in his speech; smugfed didn't even mention Andy as if he'd not been there.  Still perhaps better than him patronising or dismissive.

Re IW - I'd understood that Mr L was going to be there for masters events and seems odd not to be when it's in the US.  But it did say in Guardian he'd not be hooking up with andy again till monte carlo, which is even odder as he's based in florida I thought so handy for Miami.
Yes Ruthie exactly what I said to my sister not a single mention of Andy how rude!!! Not talking
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Re: Flat Murray falls to fluid Federer « Reply #11 on: March 03, 2012, 06:52 PM »
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Btw how graceless can smugfed get?   Andy was gracious in defeat in his speech; smugfed didn't even mention Andy as if he'd not been there.  Still perhaps better than him patronising or dismissive.

Apparently Fed was interviewed twice and did mention Andy in the first one. My livestream went awol, so I don't know what most people got instead.
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Re: Flat Murray falls to fluid Federer « Reply #12 on: March 03, 2012, 06:54 PM »
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I feel quite down right now as I had hoped this match
1) would show that Andy  had made some strides in showing that he could win consecutive matches versus the top 3 which no doubt he will have to do to win that Slam and
2) that he would make some progress from moving up from being number 4 since I feel this is the ranking position most vulnerable to Delpo's rise.

And I too was hoping Lendl would be at IW.  Oh well, onwards and upwards...Fingers crossed.
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Re: Flat Murray falls to fluid Federer « Reply #13 on: March 03, 2012, 07:05 PM »
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I feel quite down right now as I had hoped this match
1) would show that Andy  had made some strides in showing that he could win consecutive matches versus the top 3 which no doubt he will have to do to win that Slam and
2) that he would make some progress from moving up from being number 4 since I feel this is the ranking position most vulnerable to Delpo's rise.

And I too was hoping Lendl would be at IW.  Oh well, onwards and upwards...Fingers crossed.
I don't think you should feel too down mp.  Remember Andy hasn't played matches since AO whereas Fed has been and is so more match ready as well as used to the night conditions.  Try and look on the bright side - Andy beat Berdych for 1st time in ages and beat #1 player + didn't show any signs of a post AO slump [not that there was any reason for one, but these things can become kind of self-reinforcing].  I'm sure Lendl will be able to show him alot from that match and help him sharpen up for next time he meets smugfed.
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Re: Flat Murray falls to fluid Federer « Reply #14 on: March 03, 2012, 07:06 PM »
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Well written Nigel. A fair and sad epitaph of todays events. You were solid to the end and never gave up believing in Andy until the fat lady sang.
I hoped for a turn around in the second but he was not clicking in place. Only Andy knows what was wrong, but its worrying he is inconsistent from match to match like this.
 
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