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Grabcopy
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Murray edged out in five-set thriller « on: January 27, 2012, 02:19 PM »
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An Australian Open semi-final that stumbled, sparked and spluttered, finally scorched its way into a pulsating fifth set, as Novak Djokovic edged out Andy Murray 6-3 3-6 6-7 (4-7) 6-1 7-5 to bully his way into the title match once again.

In slick conditions on a cloudless night on Rod Laver Arena, Murray and his friend laid on a tennis match that at times defied description. Not compelling enough throughout to be hailed a classic, it nevertheless delivered tight, seat-edge drama for the best part of five hours.

For the Scot, the first set was a forgettable litany of unforced errors, break points and double faults. Murray staved off break points in his opening service game but a double-fault in the second handed the Serb a 3-1 lead.

At times early on, the British number one looked like a teenager forced to wear his dad's shoes to the school disco, as he struggled to force the aggressive style demanded by coach Ivan Lendl into a winning formula against the world's best player.

Murray, who struggled manfully to control his temper throughout, broke back, but Djokovic replied with a soul-crushing second break and duly served out a 47-minute first set to 15.

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Djokovic's domination spilled over into the second set, racing to a 2-0 lead. At this stage, Murray looked caught between two worlds – the Lendl world of brutal backcourt domination and the Murray world of punch and counterpunch. He was doing neither with aplomb.

But with the Scot toeing the baseline, a Czech-friendly strategy crystallised in his mind and some pulverising beef from the back saw him resurgent again, with a four-game run that pushed Djokovic into the shadows. Although the world number one broke back, Murray countered and took the set 6-3.

During a pivotal and gruelling third set, defeat must have seemed at times to exert a magnetic pull, so many chances did Murray squander. With Djokovic seemingly hurting and hobbling, the Scot cranked up the volume on a smart new crosscourt forehand and forced numerous break points.

Chances were falling to the Scot like golden rain, yet time and again they washed harmlessly away. Then, at 4-5, Djokovic had chances of his own, in the shape of three set points, which Murray bizarrely and bravely saved with some muscular groundshots.

The world number four broke at 5-5, but yanking disappointment from the jaws of joy, he surrendered his serve once again to take the set into a breaker. Murray had seemed at times like a man making his excuses after an invite to the Queen's diamond-jubilee ball, but he pulled himself together with some he-man tennis and took the breaker 7-4 after an astonishing 88-minute set.

Former coach Brad Gilbert always refers to the first games of a new set as the Dictate Games, when mental battles are won and lost. Murray, however, ignored all that and simply took a giant mental holiday.

With the Scot's brain slapping factor 30 on itself in some distant clime and choosing a snack from the poolside bar, Murray simply slipped away, at 1-5 not even bothering to chase down his pal's friendly groundshots.

And so began the pulsating final stanza. To some, Murray's new white shirt might have looked like a white flag. And so it seemed as he rapidly slipped to a 5-2 deficit. The Scot's tennis here was simply too casual, just when a black tie and tux, or at least a lounge suit, was required.

But Murray held for 3-5 and, with the Serb serving for a place in the final, he came roaring back, mentally resurgent and physically imposing, with his new beefed-up forehand painting the lines of the Rod Laver Arena.

With Murray's fans and support team screaming in exultation, at 5-5 it seemed like a dream might be about to be realised. But nothing could have prepared Murray for the depth of Djokovic's mental resolve.

Summoning every ounce of strength from his spent body, he staved off break points and drove deep and hard to draw errors from the Murray racket and pile on the pressure at 5-6.

Murray, whose serve was a spent force by this stage, fought with every sinew to the end, but it was a rearguard action and, when the Serb punched away a forehand volley for a sweet and sweat-drenched victory, he collapsed onto the Plexicushion and roared in ecstasy.

This was a brave, sometimes bizarre, display from Murray that nevertheless represented a 100% improvement on last year's capitulation to the same opponent. In such a brutal era in the sport's history, though, it remains to be seen whether Murray's dream lies dead or is merely deferred.
[ Last edit by Grabcopy January 27, 2012, 04:36 PM ] IP Logged
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Re: Murray edged out in five-set thriller « Reply #1 on: January 27, 2012, 02:21 PM »
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That was a match worthy of being the final have a feeling that Sunday will be a gad anti climatic!!!  This is the best that I have felt following an Andy defeat, there are so many positives that he can take away from today's performance.
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Re: Murray edged out in five-set thriller « Reply #2 on: January 27, 2012, 02:23 PM »
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So close, but yet so far. Murray had chances. It'll be very interesting to see how he recovers from this.
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Re: Murray edged out in five-set thriller « Reply #3 on: January 27, 2012, 02:24 PM »
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This is the best that I have felt following an Andy defeat, there are so many positives that he can take away from today's performance.

Yep. I was crying, but then a moment later, I was grinning because Andy did so well. Reinforced my love for him, and I still think this year is Andy's year, with Lendl there to iron out the kinks.

Kudos, Andy. You were wonderful.
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Re: Murray edged out in five-set thriller « Reply #4 on: January 27, 2012, 02:26 PM »
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So close, but yet so far. Murray had chances. It'll be very interesting to see how he recovers from this.

The lack of histrionics in this game makes me think he'll be all right. He'll be gutted of course - who wouldn't? - but it's obvious how much more mentally mature he is. Just a little bit more, I think.
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Re: Murray edged out in five-set thriller « Reply #5 on: January 27, 2012, 02:28 PM »
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So close yet so far.
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Re: Murray edged out in five-set thriller « Reply #6 on: January 27, 2012, 02:31 PM »
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Post match interview on AO website. Haven't read it yet!

http://www.australianopen.com/en_AU/news/interviews/2012-01-28/201201271327673723322.html
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Re: Murray edged out in five-set thriller « Reply #7 on: January 27, 2012, 02:34 PM »
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The lack of histrionics in this game makes me think he'll be all right. He'll be gutted of course - who wouldn't? - but it's obvious how much more mentally mature he is. Just a little bit more, I think.
That's exactly how I feel.  At one point earlier in his career, I honestly didn't think he'd win a Slam because he didn't have a mentor who was able to get into his head.  It looks like Lendl may just be doing that and may be the person Andy needs to get him over that final hurdle.
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Re: Murray edged out in five-set thriller « Reply #8 on: January 27, 2012, 02:40 PM »
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I'm so proud of Andy. He left his heart on the court.
But I'm SO optimistic. No histrionics, no getting down on himself, no clutching body parts, no shouting at the box. He just kept coming back and back. Much of the time he outplayed Novak. One glaring error, should've made Novak serve out the 4th set. He gave it away which was poor tactically and he was always behind in the 5th. Bad.
And now it's time for Lendl to step forward. He's got a lot to do, but also very little.
Andy's serve was poor but did you see that forehand? So improved. 
Andy,  wub
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Re: Murray edged out in five-set thriller « Reply #9 on: January 27, 2012, 02:45 PM »
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What a match! Annoyed I had to watch it on the fly while 'working'.

Gutted for Andy, but I reckon there'll be no slump after this, partly because Lendl wont allow it, but also because there was absolutely nothing flat about Andy's performance today. He channelled every emotion into the fight.
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Re: Murray edged out in five-set thriller « Reply #10 on: January 27, 2012, 02:46 PM »
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This interview definitely makes me think he'll be all right, and becoming scarily good in future.

That's exactly how I feel.  At one point earlier in his career, I honestly didn't think he'd win a Slam because he didn't have a mentor who was able to get into his head.  It looks like Lendl may just be doing that and may be the person Andy needs to get him over that final hurdle.

Yeah, most of the time Lendl freaks me out because of his stony expression, but I think he'll be very good for Andy. Lendl's been where Andy's at, and he can help guide our boy to win. Besides, Lendl probably wouldn't coach Andy if he didn't see something in him. I'm just feeling really satisfied right now for the overall big picture, even if I have a raging headache from the match's stress.
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Re: Murray edged out in five-set thriller « Reply #11 on: January 27, 2012, 02:51 PM »
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The lack of histrionics in this game makes me think he'll be all right. He'll be gutted of course - who wouldn't? - but it's obvious how much more mentally mature he is. Just a little bit more, I think.
Cant wait for the full report from Nigel. 

However, Andy may be disappointed and/or gutted, Earmuffs, but I wonder if Lendl has prepared him for that also?
They said they are not looking to the AO as a measure of success but part of a along term process with a goal.
He has controlled his emotions and that alone has been a miracle.
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Re: Murray edged out in five-set thriller « Reply #12 on: January 27, 2012, 02:57 PM »
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Like bbh I am PROUD of Andy.  Of course I shed some tears at the end.  But we said we just wanted him to give his all and give his all he did.  And at the end Novak won but Andy didn't lose.  Reminds me a bit of that glorious defeat against Rafa at 02 in 2010 and Andy recovered v quickly from that which I'm sure he will this time [will read interview later as need to get some stuff done having given 5 hours of my life to that match and boy it felt like a life time didn't it?]    And while I would love him to have won can't help think a glorious defeat today might be better for Andy in medium term than an inglorious one against Rafa on Sunday and difficult to see how he could give his all again 2 days later.  Just hope he has done Rafa a big favour for Sunday now.
Well done Andy - you were fierce and brave and focused today and while  yes we can pick holes in some of the tennis and you went awol in the 4th set, overall as comms said that must be your best performance in a slam in terms of what you brought to the occasion.  Next time you'll get him I'm sure.
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Re: Murray edged out in five-set thriller « Reply #13 on: January 27, 2012, 02:58 PM »
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Sounds positive in the interview after the defeat which is pleasing, now hopefully Ivan will make sure it stays that way in the next few weeks. This match was a great platform for Andy to launch his season, now to regain that No.3 slot with great showings at Indian Wells & Miami.
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Re: Murray edged out in five-set thriller « Reply #14 on: January 27, 2012, 03:02 PM »
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So close, but yet so far. Murray had chances. It'll be very interesting to see how he recovers from this.
Andy - from the post-match interview ...

"Yeah, it was tough at the end 'cause, you know, obviously you come back, then you get close to breaking.  To lose, yeah, it's tough."

"But a different player, a different attitude to this time last year.  Yeah, I'm proud of the way I fought."


yay  yay  yay

I'm so proud of Andy. He left his heart on the court.
But I'm SO optimistic. No histrionics, no getting down on himself, no clutching body parts, no shouting at the box. He just kept coming back and back. Much of the time he outplayed Novak. One glaring error, should've made Novak serve out the 4th set. He gave it away which was poor tactically and he was always behind in the 5th. Bad.
And now it's time for Lendl to step forward. He's got a lot to do, but also very little.
Andy's serve was poor but did you see that forehand? So improved.  
Andy,  wub
thumb up  This match truly was a great epic.  Djokovic wasn't exactly perfect.  Can't believe I was hearing the same old negativity from the usual moaners.  What sad people they are.  Must admit though I'm relieved Andy didn't win.  He isn't quite ready for a Slam yet, but getting very close.  We've seen noticeable improvements after only 3 weeks of working with Lendl, but Andy can only take a few steps at a time and this, after all, is only January!  
 
[ Last edit by Aileen January 27, 2012, 03:11 PM ] IP Logged
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