Home > Uncategorized > Running Blog Of The 2010 Australian Open Final — Roger Federer vs. Andy Murray

Running Blog Of The 2010 Australian Open Final — Roger Federer vs. Andy Murray

On the East Coast, it’s 3:30 a.m. and you’re watching Perspectives Australian Open tennis.

As we’ve reached the finals of this first major of the year, I wouldn’t say that this is a matchup I expected or even wanted. Hell, I could say that about the semifinals, too. Of course, it’s a bummer that Rafael Nadal’s knee is still giving him problems. And I think Marin Cilic’s strength and power would have been fun to watch against Federer. But this is still a very interesting pairing. Roger Federer and Andy Murray. Very similar, smart players. This could be a long match, not only because both have similar strengths and weaknesses, but because both play long points. So, since I’ve got nothing better to do at 12:30 a.m. here on the West Coast, how about a running blog?

12:35 a.m. I mean, c’mon. You’ve got important live sports going on in the middle of the night. It’s one of the finer things in life.

12:37 a.m. Federer has won the past two meetings against Murray, but that was after Murray won the previous four. As far as majors are concerned, Federer beat Murray in straight sets at the 2008 U.S. Open.

12:41 a.m. As we get underway here with Murray winning the first point, I have to admit that I am not doing this because I am a lover of tennis. I am not. (Although, I am currently reading Andre Agassi’s autobiography and it is phenomenal) This is just one of the cooler events in sports. A major being aired live in the middle of the night in America. It’s an insomniac’s dream.

12:45 a.m. First game, and you can see the players just kidding of feeling around right now. Federer holds.

12:46 a.m. Also, I didn’t give a prediction. I say Federer wins in five sets. Two extremely skilled and even players battle it out, but I’m not betting against Roger.

12:47 a.m. Murray has traditionally had a problem with his second serve and that’s something we see early on in this match.

12:49 a.m. Murray’s backhand is a strength of his, but Federer’s forehand was unbeatable to end that second game.

12:50 a.m. The first highlight point of the match comes as Federer tries to drop one in and Murray sends a great winner down his near-side line.

12:52 a.m. Murray breaks back with two fabulous points and we get our first “C’mon!” of the night. Or day. Wherever you are, it’s some time.

12:56 a.m. I wouldn’t say both players are nervous, which is resulting in some mistakes. But as we’ve learned from quotes, they may not like each other too much. They are eager to beat one another. Eager.

12:58 a.m. There is talk about how much pressure is on Murray from the British people. That’s probably one reason why he is playing so well in this tourney. This isn’t Wimbledon.

1:04 a.m. Federer is getting so far up on his forehand returns, it’s only a matter of time before Murray starts pounding away with his backhands down the opposite line.

1:05 a.m. Federer survives some of Murray’s break chances and leads 3-2.

1:10 a.m. I read earlier tonight that Murray’s favorite movie is The Girl Next Door. Those Scots love them some Elisha Cuthbert.

1:11 a.m. I don’t get why every explanation for a bad play or a poor call by an official is because they are “tight.” Why can’t we just say that they screwed up? Tight isn’t an umbrella explanation. Plus, I’m pretty sure these guys had the nervousness go away after the first game or two.

1:14 a.m. Oh, big serve by Federer helps put him up 4-3 in this first set.

1:16 a.m. Before this match started, you knew this was going to be a long one. The physical nature of this one shouldn’t surprise anybody.

1:18 a.m. Now the telecast is blaming the mistakes on the conditions. That’s a more viable reason for the early mistakes.

1:20 a.m. Federer gets another break of serve and is now up, 5-3. He is just attacking strongly on Murray’s forehand. And that point at 30-30 in that game, when he set up a down-the-line winner with a cross-court play was a thing of beauty.

1:24 a.m. Federer dominates that ninth game and closes out the first set, 6-3. Murray isn’t attacking enough. He’s staying back an awful lot and he’s not forcing the action. That has to change.

1:26 a.m. ESPN’s on-screen question: “Was Murray too passive in the first set?” I guess if you didn’t watch the match, you would be uncertain on how to answer that one. Does the Pope wear a funny hat?

1:28 a.m. Strong forehand winner puts Murray up 40-15 in the first game of the second set, but there was another shot from Murray in that game that looked to be out. Whatever.

1:30 a.m. From the ESPN Bottom Line, Rafael Nadal will miss four weeks with a slight tear in his right knee that has been affected by tendonitis. Can you say steroids?

Just kidding.

1:35 a.m. Federer breaks Murray with a sweep in the third game and goes up, 2-1, and gets back on serve. The highlight of that game was a tremendous forehand cross-court winner. As if it needed to be said: Murray has a lot of problems right now.

1:38 a.m. Beautiful points by Federer. He is sending things down the baseline, charging the net, dropping shots in. He is doing everything. Murray is doing nothing.

1:42 a.m. The good news for Murray is that his serving — especially his second serve — is showing signs of improvement. But Federer is just too good, dragging Murray to wherever he wants him.

1:43 a.m. Of course, Murray puts up a double fault as soon as I say that.

1:45 a.m. OK, so Murray fights back from 15-40 and a possible 4-1 hole to take the game. He shows some emotion, but he’s going to need to keep his good serving up. Yeah, I know he double-faulted in that game, but the serving was better, stronger.

1:52 a.m. Federer holds and is now up 4-2. Murray is getting closer to a break, but Federer is just too good with that forehand on many points.

1:54 a.m. Federer wins another couple of net points. He is 17 for 22 on net approaches. Murray is just 5 for 9.

1:56 a.m. Murray claws back even after being down 0-40 …

2:00 a.m. … And this time, he actually hangs on to win the game. So, he’s back to 3-4, but he still needs that break. There is still nothing about this match that says Murray has a chance to win. The commentators are hinting at an injury. I guess anything is worth speculation.

2:03 a.m. Federer plows through the eighth game of the second set with no sweat and Murray is visibly frustrated.

2:06 a.m. Murray gets his hold, but Federer will now serve for the set.

2:07 a.m. Murray’s favorite artist is 50 Cent. You can’t make this stuff up. There has to be a good pun there. The only one I can think of at this point in the morning is that I am patiently waiting for Andy Murray to play better tennis.

Wahhh, waaaaahhhh

2:10 a.m. Roger Federer closes out the second set with ease and it looks like I’ll be getting to bed a lot sooner than I expected tonight.

2:12 a.m. But for some reason, I feel like this will be a throw-away set for Federer. Nothing has given me a reason to believe that. Just working off a hunch.

2:18 a.m. Non-sequitur, but what the hell got into Andre Miller tonight? He goes from scoring two points in 21 minutes to 52 in 43 minutes. There has to be some sort of statistical oddity note on that one.

2:20 a.m. Meanwhile, back to the foregone conclusion action, each player has held serve through the first two games. Murray had an opportunity to set up a break point in game No. 2, but he missed a wide-open backhand shot down the line.

2:25 a.m. It amazes me how largely correct these linesmen are in tennis. At such a fast-paced sport, they can see between inches so easily. As a casual fan, it makes me shake my head.

2:28 a.m. Both players hold through four games and now with Murray on serve, you can sense a break upcoming.

2:30 a.m. Nope, Murray survives and is up, 3-2. I wonder if this match will finish before the sushi restaurant down the street stops serving at 3:30 a.m.

2:33 a.m. We’ve got the biggest energy out of the crowd as Murray is up 40-0 in this sixth game and with three break points.

2:34 a.m. Two break points.

2:34 a.m. One break point.

2:34 a.m. And it’s a break!! Murray up 4-2 and serving. That game ended with a flurry at the net and a big scream from Murray, like a snake unhinging its jaw.

2:36 a.m. Suddenly, Murray looks quicker. I wonder how long he can sustain this. He is absolutely pumped right now.

2:38 a.m. Conversely, Federer looks slower, almost disinterested with this set. It looks like he is just waiting for Murray to flame out after this sudden surge of energy.

2:40 a.m. Murray up, 5-2. Federer serving.

2:41 a.m. Unbelievably, Murray is leading Federer in first- and second-serve win percentages for the match and has 13 fewer unforced errors.

2:43 a.m. Federer sweeps through the next game, but now he needs a break. Well, he doesn’t need it like Murray needs this set, but I’m guessing he wouldn’t mind it. You get my drift.

2:44 a.m. This has certainly been the most active, the most kinetic set.

2:47 a.m. Big break point here for Federer, up 40-30 … But instead, we go to deuce.

2:48 a.m. Federer does break Murray two points later and now is down just 5-4 and is on serve. Murray could have gained the advantage and possibly the set, but he sent a lazy forehand into a wide-open court, which Federer handled and turned into an awesome drop shot that Murray couldn’t handle.

2:53 a.m. That attempted drop shot at 40-15 was probably the stupidest play from Federer all match.

2:53 a.m. But Federer ties it up on the next point, 5-5.

2:59 a.m. I like how since I commended the linesmen on a job well done, they have missed three calls, all overturned by replay. The last one turns into Murray’s eighth ace and gives him a 6-5 advantage.

3:02 a.m. And we’re headed to a tiebreaker. Federer missed three first serves in that game, but he still swept it. 6-6. Murray serves first.

3:03 a.m. Murray: Ace. 1-0.

3:04 a.m. Federer: Another missed first serve and then he sends a return long. 2-0, Murray.

3:05 a.m. Federer: Murray’s return is long. 1-2.

3:05 a.m. Murray: He gets Federer off-balance for the entire point and he sends one out. 3-1.

3:06 a.m. Murray: Just completely botches a return shot wide. 3-2.

3:07 a.m. Federer: Murray can’t handle Federer’s serve. 3-3.

3:08 a.m. Federer: Another miss by Murray with his backhand. 4-3.

3:08 a.m. Murray: Cross-court forehand winner. 4-4.

3:09 a.m. Murray: Ace. 5-4.

3:10 a.m. Federer: Long rally ends with a great forehand from Murray that Federer returns into the net. 4-6.

3:11 a.m. Federer: Big cross-court winner. 5-6.

3:11 a.m. Murray: He simply slams a forehand shot that would have won the set right into the net. What an error! 6-6. Two set points saved by Roger.

3:13 a.m. Murray: Roger’s forehand return is long. 7-6.

3:13 a.m. Federer: A fantastic rally, but as Murray comes to the net, he sends one wide. 7-7.

3:15 a.m. Federer: His 10th ace. 8-7. Match and championship point.

3:16 a.m. Murray: Federer sends one down the line after a few returns, but it is JUST wide! 8-8.

3:17 a.m. Murray: Federer goes too weak on a drop shot. 9-8.

3:17 a.m. Federer: Murray tries a big lob as Federer goes to the net, but it’s wide. 9-9.

3:18 a.m. Federer: Federer puts a tremendous amount of spin on a drop shot and Murray can’t return it. 10-9. Another championship point.

3:19 a.m. Murray: This is unbelievable stuff!! Federer had it won with a drop shot, but Murray’s slight backhand falls in behind him. 10-10.

3:20 a.m. Murray: Federer hits what would have been a forehand winner too low and into the net. 11-10.

3:21 a.m. Federer: Murray can’t return a big serve. 11-11.

3:21 a.m. Federer: He sends a winner past Murray and you can tell that Murray is hurt. As he tried to go back to his right for that ball, he grabbed his side and grimaced. Another championship point.

3:22 a.m. Murray: After a badly hit first serve, Murray hits a return into the net and Roger Federer has his five Australian Open title and 16th career major. 6-3, 6-4, 7-6 (13-11).

3:24 a.m. Well, for a match that didn’t live up to what I thought it could be, that tiebreaker was special. So at least there was that. Which is nice.

3:25 a.m. Federer wasn’t invincible in this tourney — he lost the first set he played. But tonight, he was unbeatable. He was stronger and forced the action more than Murray, who played on his heels a lot and either didn’t take it to the net or finish points with a strong shot when he had the chance.

3:27 a.m. Murray’s time will come. I think he will finally break that long drought of a no Brits at the top of a major. But, as to paraphrase a line from Magic Johnson, whose game is it? It’s Roger Federer’s game.

He may only have a couple years of top-ranked tennis left, but he’s still the best and with Nadal’s knee injury, there are no obvious, immediate successors to his crown.

3:31 a.m. See! I knew this would have been a better match with Marin Cilic involved. See! see! Yeah … think about it.

3:32 a.m. The only bad thing about that tiebreaker: No late-night sushi for me. 😦

3:35 a.m. If the question is can Federer win two or three majors this year, he certainly will if he plays like this.

3:38 a.m. Haha! Murray congratulates Roger and tells him that he played much better tonight. Federer has to stop himself from clapping.

3:39 a.m. Murray starts crying soon into his acceptance speech — I guess that’s what you call it. And then unleashes a good line: “I can cry like Roger, I only wish I could play like him.” Well played. He has to cut it short as he is overcome.

3:41 a.m. Federer to Murray: “You’re too good of a player to not win a grand slam, so don’t worry about it.” True, true.

3:42 a.m. Roger wants to make sure you know that the little girl sitting next to his wife is NOT his child.

OR IS IT?!?!

OK, that cliffhanger is where I’ll wrap up this blog. I would thank those of you who followed along, but since I know that actual number is somewhere between 0 and 2 because the majority of this match took part during nightfall across the lower 48, I’ll just say thanks for visiting this running blog after the fact. Once again, there is nothing like 3:30 a.m. live sports.

  1. January 31, 2010 at 4:23 pm

    Best line of the night, for me?

    After the match is over, you hear, from the loudspeaker: “He is the king. He is the master. He is the Australian Champion.”

    It was perfect.

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