Andy Murray re-announced his credentials as a big time contender by defeating Roger Federer 7-5, 7-5 in the final of the Rogers Cup. He had yet to win a title in 2010 but broke his duck in emphatic fashion, dismissing a Federer who showed flashes of brilliance and enduring some inclement weather that frustrated players and fans alike.
Going into this match, history was against the Scot. Not only had Murray failed to capture a title since Valencia last year, but he had failed to win a single set in three previous final meetings with Federer. On top of that he had lost the last three meetings, most notably the Australian Open final which has been widely attributed to be the cause behind his prolonged slump in form. Finally, no man had defended a Rogers Cup crown since Andre Agassi in 1994/1995.
If Murray was aware of the statistics piled up against him, he showed no sign of being overawed. The Scot shot out of the blocks, punishing some tentative serving from Federer to grab an immediate break. A quick fire hold followed, before more crushing returns left the Swiss reeling. With the double break secured, Murray looked extremely comfortable. In marked difference to their previous encounters, it was clear that this time the Scot intended to be the aggressor.Read more (624 words)
Federer is, if nothing else, a great competitor and he was determined to make a fight of it. The Swiss regained the first break with some vintage ground-strokes at 3-0 before turning the screw further as Murray attempted to serve for the set at 5-4. The Scot slipped to 15-40 before double faulting.Match highlights (1 video)Murray's comments
Just as he looked the most likely player to take the set, Federer's form abandoned him. At 5-5 the Swiss slipped to 15-40 down before dragging the score to deuce. Murray's chance looked to have evaporated when Federer pinned the Scot to the back of the court and shaped up to hit a drop shot. Unfortunately the shot itself was indescribably bad and Murray went on to gain the crucial break. In contrast to his first attempt, the Scot comfortably served the set out.
Federer started the second set strongly, holding to love. The pair traded service holds until the fourth game when, with Murray 30-0 up on his serve, rain began to fall. Rumour has it that the US Open series events refuse to use court covers because they are “untidy”. This may be the case, but having two of the best players in the world looking on as harried ground staff attempt to dry the court with fluffy white towels doesn't project a very good image either. As it turned out, towels were being scarified in vain - the rain began to fall more steadily and the players retreated to the locker room.
After a forty minute delay play resumed. Murray found two first serves to secure the game and level the score at 2-2. The break had obviously effected Federer more than the Scot as he proceeded to play three atrocious shots to gift Murray two break points. The Swiss then missed an easy down the line forehand to yield the break. More rain began to fall with Murray's next service game delicately poised at 30-30 and the players once again scurried to the locker room.
After another protracted break in play, it was Federer's turn to emerge stronger. Murray failed to control a backhand before a Federer passing shot forced a volley error. The Swiss was now showing some ominous form, serving imperiously and controlling the baseline rallies.
Federer may be a 16 time Grand Slam champion, but he isn't as imperious as he once was. As in the first set, his level dropped slightly at 5-5 and Murray capitalised, sealing the crucial break to 30.
The Scot was now serving for the set, but quickly fell to 30-40 down. His first serve, noticeably absent for much of the match, now clicked into gear. An ace saved the break point before another brought up Championship point. Another big first serve followed but Federer managed to flick the ball back into play, drawing an error when Murray attempted a wildly ambitious cross-court drop shot. The Swiss then looked to have gained another break point when an inspired first serve return landed on Murray's toes but the Scot managed to get his racquet on the ball before forcing an error for another match point. A big forehand followed and Federer finally crumbled.
This was a highly satisfying performance at the end of a week that has seen Murray re-announce himself as a serious contender. He once again demonstrated a willingness to play aggressive tennis and, if he didn't quite reach the level he did when playing Nalbandian and Nadal, was on the day the superior player. The poor first serve percentage is an ongoing concern, but as with his ground-strokes, Murray was aggressive on his second serve.
There is still some fine-tuning to do, but the Scot now looks to be in great form for the US Open.
It was difficult today. I was up a lot in the first set and probably should have won it a bit easier.
I managed to stay tough mentally, which is always tough against Roger because he started to play some great tennis, but it's a great way to finish the week - I played very well.
I think the rain delays affected both of us. It is difficult. It broke our momentum.
Roger was playing better at the end of the first set and when we came back out I broke him straight away.
It affected both of us a little bit but I managed to stay strong in the end.
The US Open is the main goal but this is a good start.
I played five days in a row from Wednesday - all the matches right in the heat of the day so it was good for me physically.
It was good for me to win today [Sunday]. Three good results in a row against Nalbandian, Rafa and Roger, so that will give me confidence for next week.
I'll try to keep it going in Cincinnati but the most important thing is getting ready for the US Open