On this day (16th August) 11 years ago, 19-year-old Andy Murray stunned the world number Roger Federer in the second round of Cincinnati by 7-5 6-4 to stop Federer’s incredible winning streak of 55 matches.
It was Andy’s first win over Federer & it also turned out be a very strange match, with 21 break points and 12 breaks, and it was Andy who kept himself more composed in the closing stages of both sets to score straight sets win. Despite Murray’s ranking of 21, this came as a big surprise, with Roger already winning 7 titles that season and losing just 4 matches, all against Rafael Nadal (3 on clay).
In addition, Roger has won the past 55 matches played on the North American hard courts, starting from the US Open 2004, and this was his first straight sets loss since Roland Garros 2004, playing 194 matches since then (28 months)! Roger came close to another record, reaching 17 ATP finals in a row beginning from Halle 2005, just 1 short of Ivan Lendl who played in 18 between Madrid 1981 and Forest Hills 1982.
In the end, Roger suffered 7 breaks on the hard court only for the second time in his career, after Nabaldian broke him 8 times at 2003 Australian Open, but in the match that lasted for 5 sets. As we already said, it was a rather strange match with so many break points on one of the fastest hard courts you could find.
Roger served at 55% and he struggled on his second serve big time, losing 51% of the points on his serve and getting broken 7 times from 14 opportunities that Andy created. On the other hand, Briton landed only 41% of the first serve in but he was more solid than Federer on his second serve (which is always important in his matches), losing serve 5 times from 7 chances he gave to Roger.
Swiss had a slim lead in the shortest points and Andy annulled that in the mid-range shots, while they were even in the longest exchanges. Andy finished the match with 27 winners and 27 unforced errors, which was better than Roger’s 25-35 ratio, and that was also one of the key elements, as it wasn’t expected that Murray would outplay Roger in the number of winners.
Murray missed a break point in the first game but he converted one in the 3rd game when Roger sent the backhand wide. Andy was the better player in this opening games, making only a few errors and dictating the pace with his groundstrokes.
Nonetheless, he played a loose service game to get Roger back on the scoreboard, hitting a double fault in game 6 to make the result even at 3-3. That didn’t affect the youngster too much, as he moved in front again in game 7, breaking Federer with 2 backhand winners.
Roger had the answer ready and he broke back in game 8, closing the game with a nice backhand down the line winner that kept him in contention for the opening set. Against all odds, Federer dropped serve again in game 9, for the third time since the start of the match, following a costly double fault, and Andy was now serving for the set.
That wasn’t the end of the drama, with 2 break points for Federer and the incredible 5th straight break of serve. Murray sent the forehand long and the result was again locked at 5-5, in what has been a very bizarre set of tennis.
Roger wasted 3 game points for a 6-5 lead and he lost his serve after another double fault, for a break number 4, a very rare scene in his matches, especially in those good old days. After so many problems in service games for both players, Andy delivered the set by 7-5, sealing the deal with an ace, mighty releaved he got it in the bag as he served at only 34%! Things went from bad to worse for Roger, as he dropped his serve for the 4th straight time at the start of the second set, unable to find the right rhythm or to penetrate Murray from the baseline.
Feast of breaks continued and Andy was also broken in the second game, and the match was developing into a stranger and stranger affair. In game 3 Federer finally found the way to hold at 15, which was very important for him to regain some confidence, and they both served well in the following games.
It all changed in game 7 when Murray broke, thanks to yet another unforced error from Roger, and teenager was now in the driving seat to bring the match home.
That’s a long time from now & the things have changed alot, who knew this teenager would become World no.1 & Double Olympic Champion one day !!