Andy Murray proved once again that he is indeed one of the fittest and toughest opponents to beat as he once again came from two sets down to win a dramatic US open third round match against Austrian Jurgen Melzer 6-7(5-7) 4-6 7-6(7-5) 6-1 6-3.
But how this match made it to 5 sets I will never know, Murray was much the better player in both the first and second sets and just could not finish off his numerous chances and when it came down to the big points in those two sets it was Melzer who raised his game and produced the tennis of his life.
He took the first set to a tie break after saving a set point at 6-5, before the breaker Melzer had made no impression on the Murray serve and these things go, Murray serve broke down in the tie break and Melzer found his return game.
The second followed much same pattern of the first, with Murray pushing Melzer all the way on the Austrian’s service only to squander break point after break point – these points were not lost by Murray, but won by Melzer, the Austrian showing us some terrific shots, in particular his two handed backhand drop shot, that Murray was finding difficult to read and when he did make it to the ball chose the wrong the shot and Melzer was there for the easy follow up. Those misses would prove costly and Melzer took advantage breaking Murray in the 10th game of the set to take the set and a commanding lead.
Murray had not played badly and at this stage would have still been favourite in many people’s books to still go on and actually win the match – and go on win the match he did – though not without further drama.
Murray secured his first break of serve mid way through the third set only to be pegged back when he was serving for the set at 5-4. It would take another tiebreak to decide the third set.
Murray was quick on the assault and secured mini break only to lose them straight back to Melzer. Murray found himself 4-5 down and Melzer was just two points away from the match. In many of these types of matches we look for turning points and this next two points definitely was it. With Murray serving he really needed to win his next two service points, which so far in the tie break he had not managed to do. He won the first point with a big service winner and the with next point fired down a 138mph ace that equalled his fastest ever serve.
That ace served as a huge blow for Melzer and seem to just knock the wind out him, Murray converted the next point on the Melzer serve after he managed to read Melzer’s drop shot and put the return away for a clean winner.
The fourth set was a contest only for the first two games, after Murray secured a break of serve in the second game, Melzer gave up, conserving his energy for fifth. As the match progressed it was becoming more and more obvious that Melzer was struggling for fitness and needed the trainer on court to tend some cramp in his legs.
The massage from the trainer seemed to help Melzer and the Austrian was still up for the scrap at the start of second. Murray still looked dangerous on the Melzer’s serve and brought up deuce on the third game, but Melzer would hold out to lead 2-1.
After the huge comeback from Murray, there was always the chance he could come off the pace in the third and that’s what happened in the third game. After two outstanding drop shots from Melzer, the Austrian found himself 15-40 with two break points and was a whisker away from converting the first, after blistering return of serve, Murray struggled just to return the ball and with what seemed an easy backhand approach, Melzer dumped the ball in the net. That was Melzer’s chance, another huge serve Murray save the other and then another ace secures the game.
They both traded two more service games before Murray secured the vital break in the crucial seventh game with a mix of aggression and simple keep the ball in play, keep the ball long and wait for your chance.
That was indeed the match over – Melzer saved two match points on his own serve before Murray secured the match on the third.
It was another breathtaking win, not quite on par with Gasquet at Wimbledon, but close to it, after the match Murray said
He was playing awesome, hitting the ball so hard and flat, It was so tough for me to get a rhythm, but I felt after the third set, the momentum was with me. My fitness is something I’ve worked so hard on. I’ve got a great team with me and I’m really enjoying working with them. Ideally, you’d rather not play matches of that length, but sometimes it happens. You’ve got to get through it.
This will be Murray’s second time in the 4th round of the US open and will play Stanislas Wawrinka who himself had to fight back from two sets down against lucky loser (lost in qualifying but made it through due to someone dropping out the main draw) Flavio Cipolla. Though how Wawrinka nearly lost this match his a mystery, from the action I seen of the match Cipolla had nothing to offer and it was only unforced errors from Wawrinka that got the little Italian any points.
On the downside for Murray, his odds of winning the US open perhaps have been dented, after expending so much energy early on in the tournament. He and Ross Hutchins lost an epic doubles match against the number 1 doubles team in the world on a third set tiebreak. Murray has now played 18 sets of tennis compared with 9 sets played by Rafael Nadal.
I don’t think this will hamper Murray but the bookmakers don’t share my view, his odds have increased from before he started the event and they had even dipped after his first two wins. So if you think Murray is still going to win, now may be your best time to place your bet. Betfair are still the highest odds you will find and will give you a free £25 to wager when you sign up.
|Player||Average Odds – All bookmakers||Betfair Odds|
|Traditional Odds||Decimal Odds||Traditional Odds||Decimal Odds|
|Juan Martin Del Potro||144/5||29.8||45/1||46|