Murray d. Federer, 6-4 6-7(5) 6-3 6-7(2) 6-2
Andy Murray played this match aggressively right from the beginning, hitting harder than Roger Federer from the baseline. This necessarily meant that Murray made more errors than normal, but it also meant that Murray was in control during most of the match, his own shots determining who won the majority of points. Keeping Federer on the run with sharp angles and limiting his opportunities to get to the net, Murray broke Federer’s serve in the third game, and held on to the break to take the first set.
In the second set, Federer’s service games were more complicated than Murray’s, but neither player faced a break point. Murray showed his first sign of real vulnerability in the tiebreak, however, badly missing a series of forehands. He clawed his way back from 1-4 to 5-5 only to mistime an overhead, which bounced too short and too low, allowing Federer to hit a winning pass. Murray followed with another forehand error, and Federer leveled the match.
Murray pounded forehands to Federer’s backhand in the third set, eventually drawing enough errors to break for a 4-2 lead. Murray served very well, as he had througout the match up to this point, and finished the set without facing a break point.
The fourth set was the match’s dramatic apex. In the fourth game, Murray tried a difficult side-spin backhand down the line, which curved wide, and followed this by overhitting groundstrokes from both sides. Federer broke for a 3-1 lead. As he often did throughout the match, Murray demonstrated his ability to thread powerful offensive shots through tiny gaps from very disadvantageous positions, hitting a sharply dipping forehand pass to earn a break point. He broke back to 3-4 with a powerful forehand approach.
Murray pressured Federer into more errors with strong groundstrokes to break to 6-5. But with Murray serving for the match, Federer played more aggressively, aiming an overhead directly at Murray’s body, where he couldn’t handle the pass. Federer followed by painting the sideline with consecutive deep backhands, and broke back when Murray hit a forehand error. Murray served poorly in the ensuing tiebreak, repeatedly placing soft second serves in the middle of the box, which Federer stepped in and crushed for winners.
Murray found his serve again in an anticlimactic fifth set, however. Federer started to show signs of fatigue, making unforced errors on a shocking 30% of the points in the set. Overcoming the unnecessary crisis of the fourth set, Murray cruised to a victory that was more dominant than the scoreline suggests.
Djokovic d. Ferrer, 6-2 6-2 6-1
Novak Djokovic can match David Ferrer’s accuracy and ability to run down balls, while greatly surpassing his ability to hit with power and depth, even from defensive positions. Furthermore, the hard court surface favors Djokovic. The outcome of this match seemed inevitable before it started. But Djokovic dominated by a surprising margin, achieving a nearly flawless level of play by the end of the match, seemingly able to hit the lines at will.
It would be a mistake to infer too much about the final from Djokovic’s form against Ferrer, however. Murray is playing well too, and has the weapons to play Djokovic on level terms, putting his shotmaking under more pressure. The final is likely to be a long, close contest.
Zahlavova Strycova Reportedly Tests Positive for Doping
According to a Czech Press Agency article (Google-translated to English), Barbora Zahlavova Strycova has tested positive for a banned substance. According to the article, neither Zahlavova Strycova nor the anti-doping authorities at the International Tennis Federation have made any public announcements because the ITF and Zahlavova Strycova’s lawyers have not finalized their legal cases yet. The substance involved is not yet publicly known. Zahlavova Strycova has not played since October.