Tennis Freaks

“1821: Nadal, I’ve noticed, has a problem with his shorts, in that they keep on getting stuck up his jacksie and he has to pull them out before every point. Not sure why he doesn’t just get a size up, he’s probably loaded.”

Murray v Federer as it happened

Dubai Tennis Championships

First-round result


6-7 (6-8) 6-3 6-4

By Caroline Cheese

1712: Well, well, well. Brilliant stuff from Murray, who kept his composure after losing the first-set tiebreak from 5-2 up. Federer looked short of match practice – but it still takes a special player to hold his nerve against the world number one. Murray now has a 2-1 head-to-head record against Federer. The Briton did not face a break point in the entire match. Astonishing.

Murray 6-7 (6-8) 6-3 6-4 Federer
Murray bangs down an ace to make it 40-0 and the 20-year-old delivers another huge serve down the middle to complete a fabulous win. The defending champion and world number one goes out in the first round.

Murray 6-7 (6-8) 6-3 5-4 Federer
An unbelievable point. Federer somehow picks up a ferocious Murray return on the half-volley and then recovers to put away the attempted pass. That makes it 40-15 and he holds to make Murray serve out the match.

Murray 6-7 (6-8) 6-3 5-3 Federer
Federer has won the title on four of his last five visits to Dubai. The other time, he only managed to reach the final. He’s staring down the barrel of a first-round exit in 2008 as Murray holds comfortably. The Briton’s serve has been awesome today.

Murray 6-7 (6-8) 6-3 4-3 Federer
Federer stems the flow of games against but he needs a break of serve – and he hasn’t really come close yet.

Murray 6-7 (6-8) 6-3 4-2 Federer
Fed dumps a volley into the net to give Murray a 40-15 lead and the Briton is cruising now.

Murray 6-7 (6-8) 6-3 3-2 Federer
Another terrible line call. Murray is 0-40 up and thinks he has the break when Fed’s second serve is called long. Hawk-Eye says very differently so Fed has another go – but Murray simply blasts a forehand at the world number one and he can’t deal with the pace. What a chance for Murray now…

Murray 6-7 (6-8) 6-3 2-2 Federer
No sniff of a break point for the world number one there. Love service game from Murray.

“Rog hasn’t had a single break point today!!!!!!!”
JonnyFedFan on 606

And that stat does deserve seven exclamation marks Murray 6-7 (6-8) 6-3 1-2 Federer
Federer seems to have recovered some form as he holds to 15. We could be in for a blockbuster finish…

Murray 6-7 (6-8) 6-3 1-1 Federer
Murray is pegged back to deuce in unfortunate circumstances. He’s ready to hit a short ball for a winner when a line judge inexplicably calls it out. Murray laughs it off – but it could have been crucial. The point is replayed and Fed wins it – but Murray takes the game after a couple of deuces. The crowd are definitely behind the Brit.

“You absolute beauty Murray. I am unashamedly kissing the computer screen right now! The reign of the Fed Express is over…”
Maudinio in Bath, via text on 81111
Calm down, Maudinio, it’s not over yet…

Murray 6-7 (6-8) 6-3 0-1 Federer
Murray’s got this crowd in the palm of his hand now as he unleashes another spectacular forehand winner to move 30-15 up. Federer responds with a horrible backhand error, giving Murray two break points. Fed saves both but he’s clinging on here. The world number one’s gone off the boil in a big way – but Murray has to take some of the credit for that.

“Murray has the game to challenge Fed. Awesome service game.”
Marc, Gloucesteshire, via text on 81111

Second set

Murray 6-7 (6-8) 6-3 Federer
Federer challenges a call on the baseline but he’s wrong so Murray gets two set points. An ace seals it – and we’re into a decider. Brilliant recovery from Murray.

Murray 6-7 (6-8) 5-3 Federer
Murray has a little chuckle with the umpire after his lob narrowly misses the baseline. Will he be as relaxed as he goes to serve out this set?

Murray 6-7 (6-8) 5-2 Federer
Love service game. That was a quickfire – and I must say, unexpected – turnaround and suddenly Murray’s on a roll.

Murray 6-7 (6-8) 4-2 Federer
What am I saying? A break point! Our first of the day! And it’s to Murray! Federer is disgusted with himself as he goes long and Murray makes the most of it with a brilliant forehand pass. And with the way the Brit’s serving…

“I believe Andy Murray is gonna be the best! But when is it gonna happen?”
Via text on 81111
Not today anyway…

Murray 6-7 (6-8) 3-2 Federer
At 30-15 down, Federer produces one of the best backhand drop volleys I’ve ever seen. Honestly, I don’t know quite how he did it. Murray does well to recover, his serve once again doing all the damage.

Murray 6-7 (6-8) 2-2 Federer
Fed’s backhand might be a bit off but his volleying has been impeccable. A quickfire game there and we’re all square again.

Murray 6-7 (6-8) 2-1 Federer
It’s deuce – only the second time a game has gone to deuce I think. Fed lets Murray off the hook though by completely shanking a backhand. The world number one’s backhand hasn’t looked great today, it has to be said. By his stupidly high standards anyway.

Murray 6-7 (6-8) 1-1 Federer
Federer stretches to put away the smash and in doing so, levels up the set. Interesting point about Murray’s hair there. Mind you, a new ‘do’ didn’t do Federer any harm did it? He’s been even better since getting rid of the ponytail.

“I wonder if the hair was the source of Murray’s power? I guess we’ll find out soon enough. A bit like Samson. But Scottish. Obviously.”
Richey in Weymouth, via text on 81111

Murray 6-7 (6-8) 1-0 Federer
Someone just asked me if Murray choked in that tiebreak. That would be very, very harsh. If you were being hyper-critical, I suppose you might accuse Murray of playing a bit too safe. This is a huge test for the Brit now but he’s off to a good start – holding to 30.

First set

Murray 6-7 (6-8) Federer
The first mini-break goes to Murray as Fed goes long off a terrific return from the Scot. Some more brutal serving from the 20-year-old puts him 5-2 ahead but crucially he then misses a relatively easy return. He smacks his racket – sensing a missed opportunity – and he is proved right. Murray belts a forehand into the net to concede the break. You rarely get a second chance against Federer and the world number one snatches the breaker with a huge forehand Murray can’t handle.

Murray 6-6 Federer
Murray heeds The Nameless One’s call – just about. Federer wins the point of the match so far, Murray hitting a shot round the net only for the Swiss master to half-volley it back onto the baseline and beyond the Scot’s reach. Phenomenal. He gets to 30-30 but Murray responds with a brilliant volley on the stretch. The crowd are loving this now.

“Don’t you dare get broken now Andy.”
The Nameless One on 606

Murray 5-6 Federer
Murray is like a terrier out there, chasing down an angled drop volley and forcing Fed into an error. No worries for the world number one, though. He holds to 30.

Murray 5-5 Federer
Lucky boy Murray. He tempts Fed into the net with a drop shot and then mis-hits the pass – but it has so much top-spin on it, it drops onto the baseline. That makes it 30-0 and he goes on to wrap up a love game with an ace. No break points so far.

Murray 4-5 Federer
Well, this is really flying by isn’t it? Great quality so far but the sparks are yet to fly. Pressure all on Muzza now…

Murray 4-4 Federer
Solid serving again from Murray – who isn’t giving Fed any rhythm on his return. Crunch time approaching…

Murray 3-4 Federer
“Yup,” comes the response from Muzza as Fed whips a forehand down the line to bring up 40-0. The world number one looks like he really fancies it today.

Murray 3-3 Federer
Great serving from Muzza in this opening spell. That’s his first love game.

“C’mon Murray. Not to put too much on it, but this game could make or break his season…”
MontheDano1 on 606

Good for you, not putting too much on it. Murray 2-3 Federer
Federer produces an miraculous backhand volley on the stretch to get himself to game point. Let’s hope that’s a taste of things to come.

Murray 2-2 Federer
One of Murray’s fans is wearing a Tam O’Shanter hat – not the best choice of headwear in scorching Dubai I wouldn’t have thought. Muzza’s in a bit of trouble at deuce but he places a backhand down the line to get back on track.

“I think Andy will win this one, especially if he starts well. He’s had more matches and is in better form.”
Ajeet, Notts, via text on 81111

Murray 1-2 Federer
Another comfortable hold for Federer, who is playing his first match since his semi-final defeat by Novak Djokovic at the Australian Open back in January.

Murray 1-1 Federer
Fed rifles a backhand onto the line to make it 15-15 but Murray hits back with a couple of aces and he’s off the mark in impressive style.

Murray 0-1 Federer
Federer opens the defence of his title with two straight aces and goes on to hold to love. He looks in the mood folks.

1512: Away we go then. Fed to serve…

1511: “Which Murray will turn up? The world beater or the first-round loser? My money’s on a classic!”

1510: So who’s your money on (proverbially speaking. We don’t encourage actual betting)? Let me know via text on 81111 or join in the chat over on 606 .
1506: I think Andy won the coin toss and chose to receive. It was a bit difficult to hear because the night crowd in Dubai are super excited about this match – and so am I.

1503: And the big news is… Andy Murray has finally had his unruly hair cut. Very tidy it is too. Thank goodness.

1500: Andy Murray hasn’t had the luck of the draw this year has he? He picks out Jo-Willy Tsonga in Melbourne then gets world number one Roger Federer in Dubai. Still, we’re not complaining. This has all the makings of a belter…

Story from BBC SPORT


1 Comment»

  tennischick wrote @

i didn’t see this match so thanks for the report.

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