Can Murray beat Federer at the Australian Open?

Andy Murray is a player with all the talent in the world, but has lacked the magic that helps one prevail in a Grand Slam. He’s faced criticism ever since he cracked the top 10 in the world rankings. Experts think he lacks the ambition and stamina that the decorated players possess. I’ve never thought that was true. After losing an important match, I always notice a look of shame on Murray’s face. I just think the pressure can become a bit too much for him when progressing towards a Grand Slam final. His self-doubt must arise when people openly ponder when his time will come. Of course, Murray is just 22 years old, so it’s unfair to call his career a lost cause. Murray will eventually capture a Grand Slam — everyone expects it. Tennis fans are just tired of waiting.

Murray has breezed through the 2010 Australian Open. In the fourth round, he defeated 33rd seed John Isner in straight sets. The quarterfinals posed a much tougher challenge in Rafael Nadal, last year’s champion. Murray was incredible in the first set, sending Nadal all over the court. It looked to be a gigantic upset. However, Nadal rebounded in the second set and suddenly we had a match. The set went into a tiebreak, which Murray took. To everyone’s disappointment, Nadal later retired the match. Nevertheless, it’s our own fault for immediately crediting the outcome to Nadal’s injuries rather than Murray’s excellence. Even though Nadal’s knees got the best of him, this was Murray’s match to be had. In the semifinals, Murray took on Marin Cilic, a young Croatian coming off a spectacular five-set win against Andy Roddick. Murray was yet to drop a set, but everyone prepared for him to collapse as he usually does at this point in a Grand Slam. When Cilic won the first set, it didn’t look good. However, whether driven by the skeptics, his pride, or both, Murray immediately gained control and took the next three sets.

Now, as per usual, Roger Federer is waiting in the final. The Grand Slams were made in Federer’s image and Murray knows it. The last time these two met in a Grand Slam final was at the 2008 U.S. Open. Things did not turn out well for Murray as he was routed by Federer in straight sets. Strangely enough, Murray holds a 6-4 overall record against Federer. However, as Federer is quick to point out, only one of those was a five-setter, that being his victory at the U.S. Open.

Simply put, Murray needs the energy to play up to four or even five hours. Murray is one of the few players that matches up well with Federer. He’s able to read Federer’s groundstrokes, which prevents him from having to chase after the ball. His overally game has improved, but that isn’t going to be enough. This match is going into the fifth set. If Murray is prepared to go the distance, he might walk away with his first Grand Slam championship.

Photo from fOTOGLIF

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