Murray Beats Rain & Federer To Defend Title
by ATP Staff|
World No. 4 Andy Murray won his first ATP World Tour title of the season and defended his Rogers Cup crown Sunday with a 7-5, 7-5 victory over Roger Federer in Toronto. In a final frequently interrupted by rain, Murray proved to have the winning edge with his concentration as he ended a title drought dating back to Valencia in November 2009.
By virtue of winning his fifth ATP World Tour Masters 1000 trophy, Murray earned 1000 South African Airways 2010 ATP Ranking points, boosting his chances of qualifying for the year-end Barclays ATP World Tour Finals.
En route to regaining the Rogers Cup trophy, Murray became the fifth different player to defeat Federer and World No. 1 Rafael Nadal in the same tournament. Murray defeated Roland Garros and Wimbledon champion Nadal in straight sets in the semi-finals on Saturday to record his fifth career win over a World No. 1 opponent.
"Winning a tournament is always great, but it's the first time I beat Roger and Rafa in the same tournament, which is probably the most pleasing thing, and then didn't drop a set against either of them," he said. "So it's good for the confidence for the next few weeks."
The 23-year-old Murray is the first player to win back-to-back Canadian titles since Andre Agassi in 1994-95. The Scot defeated eventual US Open champion Juan Martin del Potro in last year’s final and has an 18-3 event record.
Taking advantage of a cagey start by Federer, who was playing his first tournament since a quarter-final defeat at Wimbledon, Murray quickly established a 3-0 double-break lead. The No. 3-ranked Federer slipped into gear in the fourth game, though, and recouped one of the service breaks to slow the Scot’s momentum. A drop in level later proved costly for Murray as he served for the set in the 10th game and a double fault from the Dunblane native saw Federer drew level at 5-5.
In what proved to be a very up-and-down match, though, both players struggled to build on momentum and Federer immediately gifted the advantage back to Murray with key forehand unforced errors. Murray did not waste his opportunity at the second time of asking, and served out the one-set lead.
The warm up to the match had been interrupted by rain and the showers returned again to frustrate the plays and watching fans just three games into the second set. At the resumption, Murray held serve for 2-2 before another smattering of rain delayed proceedings. While the rain was not heavy enough to force the players from court, it was enough to disrupt Federer’s rhythm and he dropped his serve in the fifth game with three unforced errors playing a part.
Play was interrupted again just minutes later with Murray at 30/30 on serve in the sixth game and, after a lengthier delay, it was the Scot who could not regain his concentration in time and Federer took advantage with potent, aggressive hitting to level at 3-3. Murray, who has impressed with his attacking style all week, though, produced the same effective tennis in the latter stages of the set to break and lead 6-5. He served out victory in just over two hours, saving a break point with an ace in the final game.
"Just felt pretty calm on the court all week, and that's if you can put sort of the emotions and how you're feeling into I guess the way you're playing rather than sort of showing it after every point, sort of saving up and putting into the points and the rallies," said Murray. "I felt like it worked well. It was one of the best weeks I've had. It was just kind of expressing myself with the way I was playing. I played pretty free flowing tennis and didn't get too nervous."
Victory for Murray, his seventh in 12 meetings with Federer, went some way to avenging the crushing defeat he suffered when the pair met in the Australian Open final in January, when Federer won his 16th Grand Slam championship. It is the first time he has defeated Federer in a tour-level final, having also been denied by the Swiss in the 2008 US Open final and 2005 Bangkok title match.
The 29-year-old Federer was bidding for his 17th ATP World Tour Masters 1000 crown and his second title of the year. He has also finished runner-up this season in Madrid (l. to Nadal) and Halle (l. to Hewitt).
“Today was another tough match physically with the breaks, coming back, the breaks, coming back, and with all the physical strain I had to go through this week,” said Federer, who came through two very close matches against Tomas Berdych and Novak Djokovic to reach the final. “Honestly I'm feeling actually pretty good, considering. That's definitely a good sign for what's to come.
“It was particularly hard being down 0-3, running behind the score, and still losing the first set. Not coming through there obviously was a bit of a blow, and then the rain delays completely shut it down for me to get any kind of rhythm. It was played on a couple points here and there, and it didn't even feel like the end of the match. Just all of a sudden it was all over. So it was just a touch disappointing. I thought he played well. He was aggressive. He was taking the ball early. He wasn't giving me much, and he clutch served at the very end when he had to, and he deserved the victory.”