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Murraywatch: Melzer destroyed

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Jonathan Overend | 07:32 UK time, Monday, 24 January 2011

Andy Murray has just torn the 11th-best player in the world to shreds, dropping a mere five games in the process, and looks in magnificent form going into the quarter-finals.

For non-tennis fanatics, his demolition of Jurgen Melzer warrants context to emphasise just how impressive it was.

At the weekend, the world number 199, Bernard Tomic, caused constant trouble for the world number one, Rafa Nadal, and the world number 152, Milos Raonic, beat the 10th seed Mikhail Youzhny.

Even today, number 46 beat number four as Dolgopolov put out Soderling.

This is men's tennis. Strength in depth, no mugs. The seeds are often ripe for picking at tournaments such as these.

Andy Murray and Jurgen Melzer

Murray took his record against Melzer to 5-0 in career meetings. Photo: AP

But Melzer, a man who will move into the top 10 next Monday, a man in the form of his life, was outclassed, dismantled and left for dead.

As early as midway through set two the Austrian's racquet went flying with frustration, Murray simply wasn't giving him a thing.

The 2010 runner-up's unforced error count stood at a miserly 10 by the end.

Everything seemed to be coming off the centre of the racquet, he returned particularly well, and the serve hit new heights towards the end as he powered to 136mph and hit 13 aces, seven in a third set which brought its own challenges.

By this stage Melzer was resorting to hit-and-hope wallops from the baseline - Murray just moved left, moved right, soaked up the pressure, dealt with the pace. Eventually Melzer would miss, or Murray would counter-punch his way to a winner.

It was fabulous to watch.

He dropped six games in the first round, seven in the second, four in the third and five in the fourth. No player has won more than three games in a single set against him.

It's this ruthless efficiency which preserves energy for the final three rounds, a definite bonus, and the intensity has been good throughout. Real progress.

"I feel good but the matches are definitely going to get tougher," he said afterwards.

"I'm not expecting to go through the tournament winning matches like that, with that scoreline, so I'm ready for that mentally when it does get tough."

Last year in the quarter-finals, Murray played Nadal - this time it's something a little different:The unorthodox "Sasha" Dolgopolov. This is the Ukrainian's Australian Open main draw debut and only his fourth major.

To get this far is incredible but it would take a stunning upset to continue his run, Murray should have way too much guile for him. The adventure continues.


  • Comment number 1.

    stop talking him up... the press does this at every tournament.

    for Nadal wins the following is written "Nadal passes through" "Nadal advances" "Nadal Wins" "Sluggish 'Opponent' sees Nadal through"

    for Murray wins, the following is written "Classy Murray" "Murray eases through" "Murray Maginificant" etc etc

    this is increasing the pressure put on him!! we know he always gets to the latter rounds with this ease bu the crumbles from quarters onwards. maybe changing the style of reporting will relieve pressure from him. We do this to ALL our sportsment !!

  • Comment number 2.


    That's a bit harsh. It's not easy to beat (actually, 'smash' is the right word) one of the 10 best players in the world 6-3 6-1 6-1. Murray is looking really good. That doesn't mean he's gonna win it, anyone following the tournament knows he almost definitely still has to beat Nadal and Federer one after the other for that to happen....

  • Comment number 3.

    Typical British media hyping up their talent beyond necessity.
    If this does not put added pressure on the players, then what else does?
    It's a known fact now, even among Murray's fellow tennis players that the British media goes in to a hype-overdrive even before Murray has actually won a Slam, that players like Roger start taking a dig at the British media and how British tennis has not won anything in a, and I quoate Roger "150 thousand years".
    This has to stop.It's just the same with English football.Media needs to be take some responsibility and try and not to blow events like a 4th round win out of proportion.

  • Comment number 4.

    It's plain to see that Murray is playing very well, and saving something in the tank should be a benefit. We are used to seeing Murray struggling or looking sluggish, unlike Nadal or Fed who play this well usually through the majors, and therefore its a distinct change. Murray deserves talking up. People are also allowed to get excited after seeing our top tennis player despatch a dangerous opponent. Once you're through to this stage, anything can happen.

  • Comment number 5.

    It's fairly simple, he's British, this is a British website, journalists want people to read their stories and a Murray story is likely to attract more attention. It's not that difficult to comprehend and it's the same all over the world, it's not a particularily British issue.

    @Daniel, did your read the BBC headlines before posting? How about 'Federer marches on in Melbourne'?

  • Comment number 6.

    Well done Murray - impressive performance and I hope he hasn't peaked too soon for the final stages (if he gets past his next opponent). Its fair reporting. Had Nadal or Federer progressed with the apparent ease that Murray has then they would be receiving similar reviews. In fact I would imagine the media would have already written their names on the next four slams. To beat the an in-form Melzer conceding only 5 games in the process IS impressive, whoever you are.

    For sure these headlines might heap the pressure of expectation from a desperate nation but he needs to learn how to carry that and I'm sure he knows that as much as anyone. He has already reached two finals and he got closer in the second. Fingers crossed he can both reach and produce in the final of this one.

    One thing you would hope though is that, IF he reaches the final AND loses (big if that he reaches it), he will be able to handle the failure better than he did last year. And I would expect him to because he is still learning about competing in the top tournaments and doing it with the pressure of expectation.

  • Comment number 7.

    I don't think we can say he is being overhyped, in that he reached the final last year and is playing so much better this year.

    Last year he did a lot of retrieving, this year - don't see that as much - lot more controlling of the points. Concentration clearly better at the moment.

    There was a taste of what he could acheive in the O2 arena, where, until he lost concentration for a moment - either in disbelief or slight boredom it seems - he went on a run of games and Nadal had given up any hope of winning the match.

    And at the moment I think that any hype only will set to disappoint us, as Murray really doesn't appear phased by this. Especially considering he is all the way in Australia!

    But still, time will tell, let us wait and see!

  • Comment number 8.

    I agree to an extent about the media but Murray has been VERY good and for once the coverage is probably a fair reflection.

    As others have pointed out there are no bad players in the top 20 or so and anyone outside the big two can beat anyone else on a good day.

    How often have we seen Murray crumble against a plucky top 20 player who is on form.

    I wouldn't bet on him beating the big two if/when they come around but if he continues like this he's definitely in with a shout.

    My problem with the BBC (which is becoming more like a tabloid/soap opera mag) is there is rarely middle ground (e.g. England football team loses to top5 side and it's a shocking failure but England cricket beats worst Australian side in decades and they are world beaters). Someone is either outstanding or abysmal when the truth is the majority of professional sportsmen play decent to good in most games. The special praise should be reserved for special wins and the complete abuse should be held for embarrassing losses. Narrow wins/defeats should just be reported as matter of fact, nothing else. But then I suppose that doesn't attract an audience.

    Anyway as a Scottish sports fan I'm used to the glorious defeats and my cynical side expects Andy to follow suit. Certainly as long as Rafa and Roger are around. Murray is a fantastic player but don't see him breaking their level. I really hope he can and I support him 100% but realistically I can't see it.

  • Comment number 9.

    I can't agree that this article is over-hyping Murray and putting added pressure on him,

    Firstly, it's not like Murray is the only player to have had superlatives used to describe him in the last week in Australia. There have been plenty used for Fed, Raonic, Dolgopolov and Tomic to name just a few. Nadal not so much but that is due to him not finding his best form (yet), what is impressive is how he has been grinding results out without peaking. How he claimed a straight sets victory over Tomic I still don't know because he looked second best at times.

    Secondly, this article was 95% about this one performance against Melzer and I am sorry but he deserves every plaudit that comes his way for this match. Melzer is on-form and due to be ranked a top 10 player next week. On paper, he and Murray are equally matched and many expected this to be a tight match. For Murray to come out of it in 3 sets, losing only 5 games in the process and playing some excellent tennis is worthy of the praise he is getting as far as I am concerned. It's not like Overend has his name on the trophy. Based on the merits of the match, I think the article is a fair reflection.

    I can't imagine articles like this place any more pressure on Murray. It's not like Wimbledon where he can't escape coverage of himself. Plus I can't imagine that anybody puts more pressure on Murray than he does himself. He thinks he can win this, he must do. He has been to two slam finals, if he didn't think he could go to next level then he should quit now. He won't say it in TV interviews but he and his team will be in Australia to win this. He knows more than anyone that he is capable of winning a slam and reading this article will put no extra pressure on him what-so-ever.

    Lastly, I think articles like this are needed, if it raises the profile of tennis in the UK. It's about time tennis got better coverage, there are too many people in this country that think that Wimbledon is the be-all and end-all of tennis. There are four slams a year, not one and tennis is not just played in June. Murray could win 3 Australians, 4 US and 2 French Opens and be ranked no 1 for 5 years and there would still be people in the UK who would think he was a failure because he didn't win Wimbledon.

    I say bring on the Murray hype!

  • Comment number 10.

    Don't see any reason for saying this article is raising the pressure on Andy - it simply reflects that he just put in probably the performance of his career in absolutely dominating an opponent who most were expecting to cause him problems (I think the smart money was on a tight 4 set win). Murray played great and made Melzer play badly (10 UEs in the match shows how little he was giving away).

    If he continues in this form, Murray should have too much for Dolgopolov in the QF - the biggest risk is that Dolgo has nothing to lose as he has already exceeded expectations for this tournament and just got the better of the #4 seed, so can play with no pressure. IT will though be an intersting match-up as it is two players with skillful and crafty game plans rather than a big ball-basher.

    Looking ahead to a Murray v Nadal SF, so far Rafa hasn't played all that well this tournament, although the scoreline of his matches doesn't always reflect that - his first half of the 2nd set against Tomic was the poorest I've seen Nadal play in years. Based on this, and that Andy won their QF match last year, he has to go in at least with a good chance of repeating his final appearance of 2010.

    Still some way to go, but the good news for Murray fans is two-fold:
    1) His form looks very good, even his 2nd serve looks solid.
    2) He's used very little of his physical reserves to date, given how easily he has progressed to date. Given the heat and the wear and tear that is inevitable for hard-court tennis, this is all to the good if as and when he needs to call on his reserves in a tight match.

  • Comment number 11.

    Has this first week served any purpose whatsoever in the Mens event?

    Fear not, the dour Scot will win his next match to notch up over-optimism and hype even more, before losing in the semis.

  • Comment number 12.

    "Fear not, the dour Scot will win his next match to notch up over-optimism and hype even more, before losing in the semis. "

    This quote sums up the sour grapes that some englandshire folks feel for Andy's rise in the world of tennis. Let's be honest here, if he were english, there would be none of these kind of posts.
    Instead they'd be shouting about how wonderful he was from the rooftops.......... :-)

  • Comment number 13.

    "Has this first week served any purpose whatsoever in the Mens event?"

    yes - to get into the second week...just ask Robin Soderling ;)

  • Comment number 14.

    I wholly agree with #6 United Dreamer.

    Exactly, basically.

  • Comment number 15.

    "Fear not, the dour Scot will win his next match to notch up over-optimism and hype even more, before losing in the semis. "

    Meh! Dont follow him then. Simple.

    For the rest of us it appears he is playing very well. Fingers crossed he manages to keep this up. I hope he makes and produces a great final.

  • Comment number 16.

    He's a very good player. BUT... he lives in the era of Nadal and Federer. Murray has been here before, he is always capable of getting to a semi-final or final at a grand slam but those two guys are always going to stand in his way.

  • Comment number 17.

    " "Has this first week served any purpose whatsoever in the Mens event?"

    yes - to get into the second week...just ask Robin Soderling ;)"

    And Tsonga, and Monfils, and Roddick, and Verdasco, and Almagro, and Del Potro, and Nalbandian, and Hewitt, and Simon (who shouldve beaten Federer) and Youzhny, and Cilic...etc etc

    Never mind. If you dont know one or some or any of these names, you have little no right to comment on an article about tennis.

  • Comment number 18.

    Check out the headlines from an international website:

    "Murray Delivers Masterclass"

  • Comment number 19.

    I think Murray is actually advancing fairly quietly, looking at the more international tennis sites, his coverage is pretty low key, he has a dark horse element to him. I think the same will be the case for his QF, people will see the match up and think, who is this Dolgopolov kid? They'll be interested to see his game, and won't pass too many judgements if Murray takes it in 3 or 4.

    Everyone is waiting for a Fed-Nadal final, he's moving up on the outside, ready to meet Nadal and continue where they left off at the tour finals in London. I hope they meet and it's a cracker.

  • Comment number 20.

    "Never mind. If you dont know one or some or any of these names, you have little no right to comment on an article about tennis."

    haha - you don't go on Tennis 606 much eh?

    I expect you don't watch much tennis beyond the Grand Slams either - and even then only whatever is covered by the BBC, Sky or Eurosport...and tabloid newspapers.

    Soderling is ranked above Murray in this Australian Open - so yes, it is valid to only mention him above the others you mention when comparing with Murray.

  • Comment number 21.

    Not many are noticing the key issues. Murray still has psychological flaws to contend with that are related to overconfidence.

    He has allowed far too many break points on his own serve, often when a set is going well for him he forgets to keep on applying the pressure. Against the top 3 he won't be allowed to wriggle off the hook as often as his opponents to date have allowed him.

    I first notice it a couple of years ago when he was 3-0 up in the first set and walked off to the break with a kind of cocky skip-step to his first few steps. And sure enough he dropped his serve in the next game.

    He did it again in his last match against the Spaniard (Garcia-Lopez?). Same score, 3-0 and 2 breaks up and the skip-step cocky walk... drops his serve again in game 4.

    When you look at the score in that match where the other guy barely registered, the fact that one of his games is a break of serve ought to be of concern. The likes of Federer and Nadal seem to regard dropping serve to a lowly opponent as a form of embarrassment to be avoided at all costs and as a result you see few break points against them. Certainly few of the 0-40's and 15-40's that Murray had to recover against Melzer.

    If he had achieved that score without the break points against - and again Melzer's paltry 5 games included a break of serve - I would be thinking that he could go all the way. But as it stands it seems that the same old flaws are there, just waiting for a better opponent to expose them.

    Perhaps he really needs a good psyche coach but in the meantime the jury is very much out in my head as to whether or not he will veer win a Slam with all the good young players coming through...

    It takes a good dollup of killer instinct - I'm not yet convinced that he has enough of it.

  • Comment number 22.

    Someone earlier mentioned that Andy isn't really under the media spotlight this tournament, even in the UK. The big story is whether Nadal can complete the non-calendar slam, with the second part of the story being Federer's form and the effect of having Annacone as his full-time coach. Under these circumstances, even Andy's very good performances are able to pass in a fairly low key way - a QF against Dolgopolov fits the profile perfectly, as again the focus of that day will be Nadal v Ferrer. (Actually, perhaps BECAUSE Andy's victories have been so easy he is totally under the radar - hasn't yet been involved in any matches that have caught the audience's attention, unlike Federer and his struggles to overcon Simon in R2)

    OK, so a semi-final potentially against Nadal will obviously be very high profile, particularly highlighted by the fact that the last time Nadal lost a GS match was last year's AO QF against Murray.

  • Comment number 23.

    Cheers JeffersonJeffJeff.

    On the next player Murray meets, Dolgopolov, I haven't had the chance to see him play but from reports I have read he sounds like a younger version of Andy Murray. A counter puncher who mixes it up and disrupts the rhythm of player he is facing. Is that a fair reflection of him?

  • Comment number 24.

    "haha - you don't go on Tennis 606 much eh?"

    Only when people are being really really really stupid about things such as "Whats the importance of the first week", and sweeping statements like "so yes, it is valid to only mention him above the others you mention when comparing with Murray"

    Doubt it. The only reason Soderling is ranked number 4 is because Murray played the Hopman Cup instead of an ATP 250. Its valid to mention Soderling, but its not valid to say he's the only one worth mentioning.

  • Comment number 25.

    For all those criticising the british media hyping for hyping up Andy... "Murray destroys Melzer" was the article title on the Aussie open site. To have the Aussies compliment a British sports-person in that way, now thats something to take note of!

  • Comment number 26.

    "The only reason Soderling is ranked number 4 is because Murray played the Hopman Cup instead of an ATP 250. Its valid to mention Soderling, but its not valid to say he's the only one worth mentioning."

    well yes it is - because there can only be 8 players in the quarters, and the top 8 players in the world are always the projected to be there - so Roddick is the only other player that I could have mentioned, but hardly the rest. However, given you initially made the comment about the 1st week having little value in response to an article praising murray's form, it is perfectly rational to only mention Soderling as the highest ranked player not to be there in the 2nd week. I don't have to mention every other 120 players who didn't make the quarter finals to make the point.

    You're fighting a hollow argument just to validate your own silly remarks towards Murray.

  • Comment number 27.

    @ United Dreamer

    I watched Dol play Sodering last night... It was one of the strangest matches i've ever seen. For most of the match it was down to Soderling either playing as he should or Soderling suddenly playing terrible and being unable to get the ball in. Furthermore Soderlings serve yesterday in sets 4 and 5 was utterly abysmal.

    Anyway he does mix it up but, like murray a few years ago, looks like he goes to the slice backhand on tight points, as he did in the fourth set, and lost all those points. But, absolute credit to the guy, he realised this and went back to mostly double handed backhands which is why i thought he won...

    To sum up because I realise I'm just rambling.

    Backhand - worse than Murrays but does mix it up
    Forehand - Bigger than Murrays but i'm not sure if it is as good.
    First serve - Better if only because it's more reliable.
    Second serve - solid, enormous amounts of kick, i think it will be interesting to see if Murray can take his chances against it.
    Return game - Can't reallly comment because Soderling was playing so poorly.
    Retrieval game - Seemed very good, even when Sodering was hitting the corners stayed in the points very well. Not as good as Murray's though but he does seem more comfortable as a counter puncher.
    Looks - pretty sweet ponytail xD. May the edge on this one :P.

    Murray in 3 sets i think if i had to make a prediction.

  • Comment number 28.

    Quite a few comments along the lines of "Typical British media hyping up their talent".
    You'll find the giveaway is in the title - British Broadcasting Corporation - if you're not in Britain and you're reading this site it's because British TV owners have stumped up their taxes to fund it.
    If you want to read sites raving about Nadal and Federer I'm sure Spanish and Swiss media outlets will be happy to oblige.

  • Comment number 29.

    You have to say hats of to Murray, I was expecting this to be a very tights game and his first real test yet he blew him away.

    I don't think the hype is unwarrented, unlike the English football team there is a strong chance of Murray reaching the semi finals and he has won big tournaments in the past (having beaten both Rafa and Fed). This and the US are always going to be his best chances of a slam and as long as he makes the semis he has a chance.

    Good luck to him.

  • Comment number 30.

    Thanks for the summary JamesD19. Yeah I heard Soderling's performance was a weird one, the lowlight being the 130k serve. I think it was reporting of his retrieval game that made me think of Murray.

  • Comment number 31.

    Some choice quotes from Jonathan Overend's appraisal:

    "Melzer destroyed"
    "Andy Murray has just torn the 11th-best player in the world to shreds"
    "demolition of Jurgen Melzer"
    "Melzer, a man who will move into the top 10 next Monday, a man in the form of his life, was outclassed, dismantled and left for dead"
    "It was fabulous to watch"
    "ruthless efficiency"

    It might be worth acknowledging that Nadal, for whom "the world number 199, Bernard Tomic, caused constant trouble", subsequently disposed of Marin Cilic, 2010 AussieOpen semi-finalist & seeded 15, for the loss of only 9 games; Berdych with ease defeated the mercurial Richard Gasquet before thrashing 9th seed Fernando Verdasco, again for the loss of 9 games, & Wawrinka has dumped both Gael Monfils, seeded 12th & Andy Roddick, 8th, with irrepressible authority. Not to mention the fluidity with which Messrs Federer & Djokovic have glided through the draw.

    Good analysis is instantly cheapened by hyperbole & cycloptic flag waving. Nobody, Mr Overend, is objecting to your impassioned cheer-leading or indeed your slightly zealous journalism, simply your seeming inability to differentiate the two. Onanism, after all, is an activity best indulged in private...

  • Comment number 32.

    British hope Andy Murray keeps on improving all the time. Fans would love to see him go far in this Grand Slam. Congrats and all the best in the next rounds.

    Dr. Cajetan Coelho

  • Comment number 33.

    Murray will get to the semis play Rafa and lose. The Scottish Tim Henman can usually beat the rest, but when it really counts, never beat the best.

  • Comment number 34.

    @ #33

    you see this is just blatantly not true

    Murray beat Nadal in the QF here last year and in the SF of USO 2008. So to say he 'never beats Federer or Nadal' is just wrong

  • Comment number 35.

    Well, one has to say that Murray looks in prime form, both in terms of his game but also his mental demeanour. He seems to be respecting each one of his opponents and, to date, that has been a successful strategy.

    If he can come through his next match well, he must be in with a good chance against a Nadal who, by his extraordinarily high standards, isn't as invincible on hard courts like he appears to be on clay.

    I think Murray's in with a great shout this year. But he'll have to win it, because neither Nadal nor Federer will lose it for him. And I'm sure Djokovic, Berdych, Wawrinka, Dolgopolov and Ferrer wouldn't gift it to him either.

    To date, he's been both ruthless and skilled in four matches.

    A grand slam winner does it in seven. Remaining strong at times of crisis as well as closing matches out when the opportunities arises.

    He's capable of beating Dolgopolov. He knows he can beat Nadal in Melbourne because he already did it. I see no reason why he can't beat anyone on the other half of the draw if he plays his best tennis when it really, really matters.

    His job this week is to make sure he plays the best tennis matches he can play.

    If he does that and still gets beat, well, then hats off to the man who beats him.

    There's no shame in fulfilling your talent you know.

    So judge him on whether he fulfils his talent this week.

    If he does, he's got as good a chance as anyone of becoming champion.

  • Comment number 36.

    @31: "Good analysis is instantly cheapened by hyperbole & cycloptic flag waving"

    So according to you, Overend should just say "well, yeah - meh - it's only Melzer. The fact that he seemed unable to deal with Murray, whatever he tried doesn't mean anything. The fact that he came into the tournament as world No 11 and supposedly is in excellent form matters not a jot. The fact that everybody was predicting he would give Murray a hard fight but in the end was totally outplayed isn't even worth remarking on."

    You think it's better not to acknowledge that Murray played brilliantly by anyone's standards other than your own? Fine, but your jealousy shows through. A British commentator has every right to be enthusiastic about a British player turning in a performance of that standard at this level. Murray has played much better than Rafa or Federer in this 4th round, and if you don't like it you'll just have to lump it. And by the way, players like Gasquet, Monfils, Verdasco and even Roddick haven't been playing as well as Melzer recently. You should try watching more tennis.

  • Comment number 37.

    I thought Melzer could have been another Verdasco AO 2008, or Wawrinka Wimb 2009. Murray, in superb excellent form runs into someone hitting there or thereabouts in the top 20 and gets caught well off guard. Even Cilic at the 09 USO when he went out.

    At least he's now better aware of the fact that apart from RF and RN, there is no gulf down to the next tier of male top tennis players in the world.

  • Comment number 38.


    Sorry, but that is complete rubbish. How did even get to the AO Final last year? By beating Nadal. Who is the only player on the tour, apart from Nadal to have a winning record v Federer? That's Right, Andy Murray.

    Having said that, I don't think that it is right to judge Federer and Nadal on current performances. Federer has frequently won tournaments whilst having awkward 5-setters and Nadal hasn't dropped a set yet! I expect Nadal to cruise past Ferrer and you would hope that Murray has enough to beat Dolgopolov, so that could set up an interesting semi. If that is the case, you would wonder whether we would have a match like Wimbledon 2010 or WTF 2010. I'd love a cracker like WTF 2010.


    I agree I was worried about the Melzer match, especially after Wawrinka caught him completely off-guard at US Open 2010. I think that Wawrinka could be a dark horse. He has made all of his opponents, especially Roddick look ordinary so far, but Fed is a different prospect altogether. Still, if Fed does win I'm certain it won't be in straight sets.

  • Comment number 39.



    Verdasco match murray was poorly with a heavy cold and only lost in 5 sets. He has never lost to Verdasco in any other match. He was simply unlucky to come down with a bug that week. He had to stop in Australia for several days after that match because on the doctors orders he was not well enough to fly - but you expect him to be able to produce his best tennis nevetheless

    in the USO match vs Cilic Murray was significantly hampered by a wrist injury which meant he couldn't really hit his DHBH. He had to take the best part of two months off following that match.

    So both of those matches are seriously difficult to take seriously as evidence of anything other than not being at his best physically.

    And Warwinka beat him at USO 2010 not Wimby 2009. That was Roddick in the SF where the score was 3-1 with 2 tie breaks (7-5, 9-7). Considering Roddick served like a maniac and went onto push Fed extremely hard in an extended fifth set there is nothing to say except "unlucky"

    You post is glib, ill informed and unbalanced

  • Comment number 40.

    For Murray to have a chance, and its also the 3 main reasons he has played so well in his first 4 matches, are the following

    1. His attitude to the game. he seems mentally calmer, and more focused.

    2. His serve, it has been more consistent and his second serve seems to have a bit more on it.

    3. his aggression on every point, he is not playing defensive tennis and putting the ball back in to play, he is really going after the players, and he is able to do it now for longer periods.

    if he manages to keep this up he has a chance, but if you look at the draw.

    Nadal has not dropped a set but seems to always to get what he needs (he should improve)
    Federer has looked suspect, but then he normally turns it on from the QFs and onwards. last year he played his best in SF and F.
    Djokovic has looked very impressive to me, I would even put him ahead of murray.
    Berdych and Wawrinka have looked very solid. the bottom half any one of four could go to the final. as they all have chances, in the top half nadal then murray then ferrer and as the true outsider Dolgopolov.

    Murray has on paper the easiest QF hope he is ready for this and its not a major let down and the next article will be Murray has complete off day

  • Comment number 41.

    Having now seen Nadal cruise past Cilic and Federer dismantle Wawrinka, it's looking like Andy isn't the only player in some sort of form - I'm still not convinced that Rafa is playing all that well by his normal standard, and that he was slightly flatterd by Cilic having a complete off day, but he's still progressed to the same point in the tournament as Murray without losing a set.

    Federer played like the Fed of old, although again I think it was made easier by Stan accepting defeat before the match had even started.

    Anyway, looks like it's game on for the rest of the tournament.

  • Comment number 42.

    Murray's biggest problem here will be if he starts thinking about a semi with Nadal before he does the business against Dolgopolov. The quarter is a match he should win comfortably but these are sometimes the matches where he slips up through lack of concentration.
    If Andy gets through here I believe he will beat Nadal in the semi.
    It would be great for his confidence if he were then to go on and win his fist slam by defeating Federer in the final but I think Djoko will beat the Fed.

  • Comment number 43.

    1. At 08:31am on 24 Jan 2011, Daniel wrote:
    stop talking him up... the press does this at every tournament.

    for Nadal wins the following is written "Nadal passes through" "Nadal advances" "Nadal Wins" "Sluggish 'Opponent' sees Nadal through"

    for Murray wins, the following is written "Classy Murray" "Murray eases through" "Murray Maginificant" etc etc

    this is increasing the pressure put on him!! we know he always gets to the latter rounds with this ease bu the crumbles from quarters onwards. maybe changing the style of reporting will relieve pressure from him. We do this to ALL our sportsment !!


    Did you not see Federers last win? BBC labelled it:
    "Sublime Federer crushes Wawrinka"

  • Comment number 44.

    Disagree with all the comments about hype. Headlines are pretty fair in my opinion- Nadal hasn't hit the heights yet, Fed and Murray have- and in all honesty Murray has made some potentially tough matches look easy. I think this is his best chance yet, although unfortunately for him he will have to beat 2 of the top 3, and one of them is likely to be the best player of all time in great form.

    Hope he does it though, I don't think Murray would want to win a slam without beating the best of the best. At the end of the day anyone who has played competitive sport knows that the expectation others put in you is nothing compared to what you expect from yourself. The top players are able to detach from this media circus and focus intently on what they've been striving for their whole lives.

    However much we want Murray (/ any top pro) to win a slam, times it by 100 and you have his level of desire.

  • Comment number 45.

    By the way- despite my last post I do think we talk Murray up too much sometimes. I think there is a big difference between 'having a great chance' and 'going to win'.

    In my opinion Murray is there or there abouts in all the slams except for FO. The difference is stringing your best tennis together for 7 matches, AND being able to go up a notch from the semis onwards. That's why Federer's semi's record was utterly flabbergasting- how anyone can play that consistently is beyond me.

    Overend's article is spot on. Murray was excellent. Just because people have hyped him too much in the past doesn't mean we shouldn't give credit where it's due. Saying that, it is ridiculous to say 'Murray will beat Nadal'

    I could never be more then about 60% sure that ANYONE would beat Nadal, Murray, Djoko or Fed. It's just so tough to call I don't know how you can make that sweeping a judgement.

  • Comment number 46.

    I wouldn't worry about talking Murray up, Andy doesn't read any of this stuff, either online or in the papers. He ignores these tomes of cringe worthy pages and concentrates solely on practising and beating his next opponent.

    The only people to get to him are the interviewers, its them that should be gob-stoppered.


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