Donal's picture

    Dogfight Down Under

    Yesterday, the New York Times' Straight Sets blog raved about the intensity of the Nadal-Federer semifinal, but this morning's match between Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray was a dogfight. I woke up at 4:30AM to a score of Djokovic leading 6-3, 3-5, but Novak fell behind on serve and was broken to lose the second set. All even.

    The third set was very tight. The first game, Djokovic serving, took over ten minutes. Murray was serving crisply and controlling the baseline rallies with tightly-angled forehands. Reportedly suffering from a "stuffy nose," Djokovic looked tired and far less confident than usual. He wasn't serving that well, and repeatedly had to fight back to hold his own service games. Nole did well to reach a tiebreak, but couldn't hold off Murray. Andy only needed to keep going and take the fourth set. Crikey, even Ivan Lendl cracked a smile.

    The Djokovic run ended late last fall, but I expected he would defend many, though not all, of the titles he won last year. Murray seemed poised to take away the first major. If I was still a lad I would have taken the morning off, but I headed to work wondering if Murray had any shot against Nadal.

    Arriving at work, I walked in the back door as my tennis buddy opened the front door. He looked at his smartphone and said, "It's on serve 3-2." I thought he meant the fourth set. Actually, Djokovic had run away with the fourth set 6-1 and was already up 5-2 in the fifth. "It's over," I thought, and started checking my email. I took a business call, returned an email with a color question, and checked the web again. Murray was serving at 4-5. I tuned into to AO radio.

    Murray held to 5-5 and had all sorts of chances to break, but Djokovic kept digging out to hold for 6-5.  Murray was spent, and Novak quickly broke for 7-5, the set and the match. Live-blog at the Daily Mail, where they still love the Scotsman.

    N.Djokovic(1) d A.Murray(4)
    6-3 3-6 6-7(7) 6-1 7-5

    Djokovic will certainly have another tough, physical match against Nadal, but can rest and recover until Sunday evening.


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