The Andys Make an Impact

Jul 3, 2009

But it wasn’t just the two Andys in action today. It will go largely forgotten, but Tommy Haas and Roger Federer also came head to head for the coveted final place:

Federer vs. Haas

A different story to the semi-final about to be discussed, but a semi-final nonetheless. Roger Federer came out onto Centre Court under a cloudy sky with a cool breeze following. It seemed quite obvious to all watching, even Boris Becker himself, that it was doubtful the German would give the Swiss much of a scare.

In the end, Federer moved to his seventh final at Wimbledon with 3 sets: 7-6 (7-3) 7-5 6-3. Not a walkover by any means, but Tommy Haas soon became frustrated at his inability to make a dent Federer’s game. He didn’t give Federer a single break point in the two hours but Federer couldn’t break him until for almost two sets. Still, Haas played well and tested Federer, even if only for a three set semi-final.

 

But still, it was the second semi-final of the day that captures everyone’s attention:

Roddick vs. Murray

My hands sting from clapping, my voice hurts from yelling and I doubt I’ll ever get that tea stain out of my carpet, but what a semi-final to watch as the sun lowers over SW19.

Apart from throwing my drink all over the living room in a moment of adulation, I actually spent most of the experience crouched low on the sofa staring at the screen through my fingers. I was wishing and willing Andy Roddick to do what he hasn’t done for years and make it to a final. Of course there was that smidge of me who was British and would be quite proud to see a Brit have a chance at Wimbledon championship after so long, but that smidge was slowly erased.

Anyone in Centre Court who was supporting Andy Roddick were keeping their voices low, as whenever Andy Murray roared like a lion the crowd roared back at him. Britain leapt up at every pump of the fist, responding to those cries of ‘come on!!’ on immediate cue.

Roddick started off with a swing, a confidence that the American carried. Many wondered why. Well, the question was answered for them: Roddick was the underdog. There was no-one rooting for him in that crowd, at least no-one who wanted to go beyond polite applause. But the pressure was sat on Murray like a heavy fog, four walls of spectators watching and hoping. Roddick took the first serve with a last minute break, taking it 7-5. It was a set full of long baseline rallies, cheeky and uncharacteristic serve and volley from the American, and lots of belting passing shots and yawning-walrus impressions from the Scot.

The stunned look of the crowd helped to justify completely what Boris Becker dryly pointed out: “Roddick hasn’t read the script”.

And still, no-one would write Murray from the game. Even with my quite strongly held belief Murray just isn’t a champion yet, I was still quite firm in the belief he could clinch a victory. Roddick had the first set but Murray was the sort of player that would make the switch flick and put on some sparkling tennis to win the match. At the beginning of the second set order had apparently been resumed: Murray broke Roddick early and ran away 6-4 with the set.

But it was the second tiebreak for the fourth set that will remain in the memory of anyone who watched for a long time. After some blistering aces and equally blistering play, Roddick led 3-1. The blog I had written at the beginning of the tournament ‘A Country’s Pressure’ started to come back to my mind: maybe this is it, maybe this is the result of all of that intensity from the British public.

The sun angled over the lip of Centre Court and sat squarely on Murray’s curls; a spotlight on the Scot. At 6-4, Murray sent an impossibly angled shot past the American. Legs flailing and arms stretched, he missed it by inches and rolled heavily onto the grass. 6-5, and everyone was setting in for a fifth set.

And then everyone took a double take. Murray netted a backhand, and the score was 6-4 4-6 7-6 (9-7) 7-6 (7-5) to Roddick. As my teacup tumbled towards the floor, Roddick dropped to his knees and pressed his head to the grass of Wimbledon centre court. They hadn’t necessarily been on his side but the crowd were there to cheer for him as he reached his first Wimbledon final since 2006.

Commiserations to Andy Murray: there’ll be plenty of more opportunities in the future if this year has been anything to go by. But congratulations to Andy Roddick; it’s a Roddick vs. Federer final.

If anyone had ever predicted that match up in the final to happen, I would like to meet them, because I really could do with winning the lottery…

 

-          SophieG

Written by: SophieG

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