Starkly Different Semi-Finals

Jan 29, 2010

To get to the epic final that has now been set up, two very different semi-finals took place. First, there was Murray vs. Cilic. The excitement was palpable. In Britain, the BBC had whipped every ‘Muzza’ fan into an hysteria. Supporters of Cilic were trembling with the idea of another fairy-tale final for a lower ranking player.

Anyone who saw the match will know that the big Croat made the Scot work for the advance to the finals that he desired. He took the first set in a rather brutal fashion, with his serve his best bet against a nifty Murray. The eventual scoreline was 3-6 6-4 6-4 6-2, but the battle to get the finals for Murray only really began to ease off at the end of the third set.

As the third set came to a close, Cilic needed to step it up a gear to have a chance, and unfortunately he just couldn’t find it. The words ‘pummel’, ‘batter’ and ‘broken’ started to appear in the running commentaries, whether they were Murray-backing or not. It was four sets, but it may as well have been 3. After a rocky start, Andy Murray found his game, the kind of form that may win him this Open.

The second semi-final, Roger Federer vs. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga was over and done in 88mins. With a scoreline of 6-2 6-3 6-2 and a time like that, I’m sure you wouldn’t need more than the one guess at who was the winner. Federer demolished an exhausted, listless Tsonga, who looked like he had decided he wasn’t going to win before he even arrived on the court. For Federer, this couldn’t have been a better preparation. Murray would have been hoping for a five set battle for Federer, but instead Federer got a jaunty romp in which he tried out both staple and experimental moves. It was very obvious in the third set, after breaking Tsonga more times than the Frenchman could recover from, that Federer was going to be facing Murray for the second time in a Grand Slam final. Cue explosion of Muzza Mania.

There is an immovable core of Federer fans who could not possibly imagine Federer not getting this title. He is, after all, the guy who has won 15 Grand Slam titles. That doesn’t even seem physically and mentally possible, yet he has done it all seeing completely unruffled by his own brilliance. Can Murray, a man with so much crushing pressure from his aching fan base overcome this immovable rock?

My conclusion: maybe.

This is honestly too close to call. If Murray comes out burning and gets the crowd behind him, who knows. But Federer is hard to beat in a Grand Slam final; I’m not even sure the last guy who managed it (Juan Martin del Potro) is sure how he managed it at the US Open.

As un-sports-commentator as this may sound, I would be happy to see either of the men win. I have always found myself rather lukewarm to Andy Murray, but it would be a saintly relief to get rid of the unbearable excitement Britain has towards him. If he doesn’t get a Grand Slam title soon, there are some sports commentators (particularly on the BBC and 5 Live Sports) that may actually implode.

On the other hand, Federer is beautiful to watch, inspiring to see win, a master class in the right mentality and motivation.

It feels like a very personal final. The two players have a fan base behind them that have deep feelings for their respective players. They are both aiming for the history books in one way or another. And who knows what those history books are going to be saying at the end of that final.

 

- SophieG

Written by: SophieG

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