Murray’s chance slips through his grasp yet again

Jan 27, 2012

Another Grand Slam, another bitter disappointment for Murray as he gets so close, yet leaves still so far from gaining an Open title. Pat Cash rightly said that Murray was going to have to play the tennis of his life to get past the world number 1 on the form he is currently in. And Murray played a near-perfect match. But despite general opinion, I wouldn’t really class that as Murray’s best game ever. Going down in the third set 6-1 was definitely uncharacteristic. Murray may lose games, but he fights for every point with all the power he has. Although that was certainly true of many games in this match, it was hardly a consistent performance.

Not that you can blame the guy. At the other end of the court prowls a man who last year won 3 of the 4 grand slam titles, and won 43 matches in a row. Never mind that Djokovic seems to have lost his fear, that mental block that used to make him choke at the moment of success. With his ability to shrug off the pressure, it was a wonder the game got to four sets.

Murray had his chances to take the game by the scruff of the neck. By evening the scoreline out, there was a level playing field going into the deciding set. However, there needn’t be. Murray seemed so fixed on the furthest points – the fifth set – that he seemed to forget about some of the ones before that. The fourth set only took twenty five minutes. 6-1 isn’t just bad for the overall scoreline, it’s a serious confidence boost to an opponent. The last thing you want to be doing is giving an opponent opportunity to see a chink in your armour, a glimmer of light, some hope at the end of the tunnel.

And when the fifth set game, Murray could struggle all he wanted, but Djokovic had moved into another gear. It left Murray clasping at straws, nearly gaining the momentum to surpass Novak and then just missing out. Despite levelling at 5-5, Murray couldn’t make that final stab at Novak’s defence do any damage.

The relief and ecstasy in Djokovic’s win shows just how much it still means for him to be playing in finals, never mind winning them.  He’s still riding high on incredible fitness, form, a groove that he has fitted into comfortably. Whilst he’s still in that groove, he is going to be very hard to beat. The man he meets on Sunday – Rafael Nadal – found his own momentum a few years ago. They are both men at the top of their sport. Are they both, however, at the top of their own games?

Written by: SophieG

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