Monday, 11 July 2016

Andy's Second Wimbledon Crown

Andy Murray is the 2016 Wimbledon Champion, and he can thank Sam Querrey for making his life a whole lot easier in achieving the significant feat.  Querrey eliminated Murray's nemesis, Novak Djokovic, early in the tournament, and once Federer departed, Andy for a change was the heavy favourite.

The straight sets win over Milos Raonic, the Canadian appearing in his first Grand Slam final, may have appeared to be an easier assignment for the Scottish number two seed, but it should be remembered that Murray defeated Djokovic in 2013 to capture his first Wimbledon crown.  He was a real chance to win this year, whatever the opposition, simply because of the form he displayed throughout the two weeks.

Raonic served first and signalled his intentions by throwing down some thundering deliveries to which Murray had no answer.  A closer inspection, though, would have noted that Andy was able to put his racquet on the Raonic serve far more effectively than Federer had in the semi final, and more regularly.  As the first set progressed, the returning skills came to the fore, frustrating Raonic and not allowing him access to the free points that he'd been privy to in his earlier matches.

Murray was serving well, a key prerequisite given his opponent's reticence to drop serve.  So it was surprising to see Raonic having to save a break point in the third game, and facing two more in the seventh.  The break of serve came on the second of those points and Murray led 4-3.

No more service breaks occurred in the final, and Andy Murray won the two tie breaks which decided the second and third sets, and with it the title.
Raonic had acquitted himself ok, and didn't let the loss of the opening set unsteady him too much.  Sadly for him, the pressure of the tie breaks, where his serve was expected to be a trump card, instead proved his undoing.

3 successive Canadian backhand errors to start the second set tie break was enough upon which Murray could capitalise and lead two sets to love.
Four clean winners, three off the forehand wing, exploded from the Murray racquet within the first seven points of the third set tie break, and Raonic was a spent force.

Although the match score was close, 6-4 7-6 7-6, the following stats are compelling:

Raonic won only 67% of points when his booming first serve was in play, evidence of Murray's supreme returning prowess.  Murray won 87% of points when his first delivery hit the mark.
Both players hit 39 winners for the match, but Raonic committed 29 unforced errors compared with just 12 to Murray.

After three years, including three losing finals at Grand Slam level, Andy Murray has celebrated his reunion with Ivan Lendl as coach with a second Wimbledon title, and Milos Raonic has served (literally) notice as a future major winner.

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