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Federer Serve vs. Murray Return In SF Preview

Melbourne, Australia

Murray© Getty ImagesAndy Murray has won 52% of his return games en route to the semi-finals.

Here is a statistical preview of the second Australian Open men's semi-final between Roger Federer and Andy Murray, courtesy Leo Levin, of IDS.

Andy Murray [3] Roger Federer [2]
50 Aces 43
2 Double Faults 10
36% Unreturned Serves 33%
66% 1st Serve % 65%
76% 1st Serve Points Won 82%
48% 2nd Serve Points Won 59%
9 Broken 5
21 Break Points Faced 13
65 Games Served 83
86% Service Games Held 94%
132 mph Fastest Serve 129 mph
80% Returns in Play 70%
41% 1st Return Points Won 31%
65% 2nd Return Points Won 56%
35 Breaks of Serve 19
60 Break Points 66
58% Break Points Converted 29%
67 Return Games Played 82
52% Return Games Won 23%
50 Forehand Winners 74
59 Forehand Unforced Errors 69
18 Backhand Winners 24
52 Backhand Unforced Errors 54
141 Winners 189
115 Unforced Errors 139
61 of 83 (73%) Net Points Won 121 of 153 (79%)
52% Baseline Points Won 53%
41 Games Lost 68
0 Sets Lost 2
8 hrs, 56 mins Time On Court 10 hrs, 47 mins

Murray Highlights:
• Strong 1st serve - 50 aces - 76% 1st serve points won  - 2nd serve consistent but not real effective (only 2 double faults but won just 48% of 2nd serve points)
• Best return of serve stats of the tournament - 80% hit back in play - won 41% returning 1st serves - won 65% returning 2nd serves - converted 58% of his break points and won 52% of his return games
• Did not lose a set in reaching the semifinals - fewest games lost and least amount of time on court of the four semi-finalists

Federer Highlights:
• Solid serving - was not broken until the quarter-finals, then broken 5 times - still has the most effective 1st serve of the four semi-finalists (82% won), and the 5 breaks of serve against is the lowest total of the four semi-finalists.
• Strong returning against 2nd serves (56% won) but has converted just 29% of his break chances (19 of 66)
• Very effective approaching net - 121 of 153 (79% won) and has won a higher percentage of his baseline points than Murray for the tournament (53% to 52%)

This is a matchup of strength against strength - the Federer serve against the Murray return.  Federer's forehand is also a key shot in this matchup.  Roger had 27 forehand unforced errors vs. Tsonga (he has only 42 in the four previous matches combined).  Federer's serve and forehand are his two major weapons and a great barometer of his game.  Murray's first serve can be a weapon, but his 2nd serve can be a liability - he will need to get a high percentage of 1st serves in play so Federer doesn't get too many looks at the 2nd serve.

Federer will need to use his serve and forehand to open up the court and allow him to get into net where he's been extremely effective (79% won) - he'll also look to use his slice backhand to keep the ball low to Murray's backhand as another way to get in and put pressure on Murray.  Murray will look to use his return of serve to put pressure on Federer and keep him pinned in the backcourt.  That will be much easier if Federer is missing his first serve which he struggled with at times against Tsonga.

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