How The Olympic Gold Medal Was Won
by James Buddell|
Third-seeded Briton Andy Murray defeated top-seed Roger Federer of Switzerland 6-2, 6-1, 6-4 in just under two hours on Sunday to win the singles gold medal match at the London 2012 Olympics Tennis Event.
He became the fifth British man since 1896 to win the Olympic singles gold medal. It was the biggest title of his career.
Afterwards, Britain's 1996 Atlanta Olympics silver medallist Tim Henman explained, "At the end of the day, it was Murray's performance that was the biggest problem for Federer because he played such a clean match.
"Everything that Federer threw at him, he was able to come up with an answer and to finish it off, I think the last set, Murray didn't drop a point on serve, he won 20 straight points, which again is unheard of against Federer."
Here is how the Olympic gold medal match was won.
The retractable roof was opened minutes before the players walked out onto Centre Court. Murray started tentatively, falling to 15/40, but fought back to hold in the opening service game much to the delight of the capacity crowd. Federer’s backhand was particularly fluent, while Murray was aggressive. Both players were quick to open up the court, striking cleanly off the shortest of balls. At 1-2, the Swiss saved one break point with an ace at 30/40, but two games later Murray capitalised on a second serve to open up a 4-2 lead. Murray was adopting the tactic of hitting sliced strokes to Federer’s backhand. In the Wimbledon final, four weeks before, Federer had been able to run around a lot of them for forehand winners. Not this time. Murray won four straight games to clinch the first set, finishing with a backhand winner down the line for a break to 30. It was his 11th winner of the 38-minute set.
Patriotic fervour increased when Murray broke Federer in the second game. He took a 3-0 lead after saving six break points. Steady and accurate off the ground, Murray was always moving Federer around and never let him settle into his favourite strokes. Murray went on to extend his winning streak to nine straight games. He kept mixing up his service placement. Pockets of Swiss fans held their breath. Federer won his first game for 56 minutes to trail 1-5. Murray then placed himself under pressure by not hitting a first serve into court when serving for the set. The Scot saved one break point as Federer hit a backhand return long en route to taking the 46-minute set. Murray committed 11 unforced errors, but had a commanding two-sets-to-love lead.
Murray continued to dominate in the third set. No short ball was safe, while Federer appeared to have no answers. At 2-2, Federer was broken as Murray seemed to attack his returns and immediately launch himself into finishing points at the net. Federer saved two break points at 2-4, much to the relief of Swiss supporters. But Murray was not to be denied the greatest victory of his career. At 5-4, 30/15, he hit an ace for two match point chances. He finished the match, which lasted one hour and 56 minutes, with his fifth ace and raised his arms aloft in celebration. Moments later, he walked through the crowd to be with his team and hug his mother, Judy, who had broken down in tears. Overall, Murray won 44 of his 87 service points and hit 27 winners. He converted five of his 10 break point opportunities and committed 17 unforced errors.