Andy Murray

Andy Murray Beats Milos Raonic In Straight Sets To Win Second Wimbledon Title

by Kevin Craig

@KCraig_Tennis

 

Andy Murray won his third major title on Sunday at Wimbledon as he defeated Milos Raonic in straightforward fashion, 6-4, 7-6(3), 7-6(2).

“This is obviously the most important tournament for me every year. I’m proud to have my hands on the trophy again,” said Murray, who shed tears of joy on the court after his win.

The title was Murray’s second at Wimbledon as he was able to give the home crowd their wish, just as he did in 2013, as well as at the 2012 Summer Olympics when he won the gold medal with the event being hosted at the All England Club.

“I’ve had some great moments here, but also some tough losses. The win feels extra special because of the tough losses,” said Murray.

It was a true master-class performance from Murray that earned him his third major title as he was simply able to negate Raonic’s weapons. While Raonic had been able to serve and hit powerful ground strokes through all of his opponents up to the final, Murray is a completely different match-up as his best assets are his return and defense, leaving the Canadian in a world of uncertainty on Centre Court.

“He moves incredibly well. He returns well. Those are his two biggest strengths,” said Raonic of Murray’s play. “Every time you play him, you know he’s going to get more returns back than anyone else.”

Both players looked confident from the onset as Murray, who hit just 12 unforced errors throughout the match, was able to breeze through his service games while Raonic dealt with some early nerves playing in his first major final, fighting off a break point in just his second service game of the match. Murray, though, quickly earned two more break points just a few games later and didn’t miss out again, capitalizing for a 4-3 lead. Two easy holds later and the Brit had taken the first set without facing a break point.

Raonic was again able to fight off a break point early in the second set, but he was still unable to make any inroads on the Murray serve. The Brit only lost more than one point in a service game in the second set twice and was never taken to deuce, allowing him to continuously pressure the Canadian’s biggest weapon, his serve. More break points came at 3-3 and 4-4, but once again Raonic fought those off and eventually forced a tiebreak, a point of the match in which he would have expected to excel.

That was far from the case, though, as Murray raced out to a 3-0 lead before leading 5-1 at the change of ends. The No. 2 seed didn’t look back before sealing the breaker 7-3, placing himself just one set away from more British glory.

Raonic’s level clearly rose in the third set as he was the one that didn’t get taken to deuce a single time. His only real chance in the set, though, came at 2-2 when he had a 15-40 lead on Murray’s serve. The Brit was able to reel off four points in a row from that moment to fight for the hold as Raonic missed out on the only two break points he had in the match, and it was only the second time that the Canadian even managed to take Murray to deuce.

While Raonic still dominated on serve throughout the set, Murray had essentially killed off any real threat from the first time major finalist. When the tiebreak arrived in the third set, it was Murray who, once again, raced out to a big lead of 5-0.

After falling in the final of the first two majors of 2016, there would be no denying Murray this time as he was able to close out the tiebreak at 7-2, earning him his third major title with a stellar performance in front of his home nation.

“Last time, I was so relieved. I felt so much stress and pressure and didn’t really get the chance to enjoy it as much,” said Murray. “So I’ll make sure I enjoy this one tonight, for sure.”

Djokovic Completes “Novak Slam” With Roland Garros Victory

by Kevin Craig

@KCraig_Tennis

 

Novak Djokovic was able to complete the “Novak Slam” on Sunday as he defeated Andy Murray for his first French Open title after four runs to the final, and he now has won all four major titles consecutively.

The Serb was able to withstand an early onslaught from the Brit, who many believed to be the favorite in the match, and eventually won in four sets by a score of 3-6, 6-1, 6-2, 6-4, giving Djokovic his 12th major title and making him the first player to simultaneously own all four major titles since Rod Laver in 1969.

“It was flawless tennis. I really felt like I played on a high quality,” said Djokovic.

The Serb, so excited to win that one major title that had remained out of his grasp throughout his career, called it “a thrilling moment. One of the most beautiful I have had in my career.”

Djokovic, who had beaten Murray in 12 of their past 14 matches, attacked first, breaking at love to open up the match before Murray turned the tables. Two breaks in a row with a hold at love in between gave Murray a 3-1 lead, and he didn’t look back from there as not much went against serve from that moment on. Three holds later and Murray was two sets away from his third major title.

“Nerves kicked in. I needed a little bit of time to really find the right rhythm and start to play the way I intended,” said Djokovic.

The No. 1 player in the world wasn’t going to go down that easy, though, and the second set was all his as he was able to find that right rhythm. After saving a break point in the first game of the set, Djokovic completely dominated. Murray was broken in two of his three service games, and the one in which he was not broken he fought off a break point and was taken to deuce. The Serb also only lost three points total in his last three service games, completing the recipe of how to win a set 6-1.

The third set was more of the same as Djokovic broke Murray twice. There was more difficulty on serve in the set for the Serb as he lost at least two points in each of his service games, while being taken to deuce twice. In one of those deuce games, Djokovic staved off four break points, making the statement that he would not be missing out on another opportunity to win his first French Open.

With a break to open up the fourth set, Djokovic had all but finished off the No. 2 player in the world. After losing only one point on serve total in his next three service games and taking Murray to deuce twice, Djokovic earned a 0-40 lead at 4-2 and capitalized on his first opportunity to break and set up a chance to serve for the title.

The Brit was able to show some signs of life as he broke Djokovic and consolidated his serve to extend the match, but it just delayed the inevitable. In the next game, Djokovic was able to hold to close out the match, finally earning the right to call himself a French Open champion.

“In the last point, I don’t even remember what happened…it’s like my spirit left my body” said Djokovic.

With this title, the 29-year old has become just the eighth man in history to complete the career grand slam, solidifying his right to be in the conversation of the greatest tennis players of all time.

Andy Murray Ends Stan Wawrinka’s Roland Garros Reign

by Kevin Craig

@KCraig_Tennis

 

Andy Murray dethroned the defending French Open champion Stan Wawrinka on Friday with a 6-4, 6-2, 4-6, 6-2 win.

Murray, who became the first player from Great Britain to reach the French Open in 79 years after Bunny Austin did so in 1937, played an almost perfect match as he reached his first French Open final and his 10th major final overall.

“I played one of my best matches here today,” said Murray in his post-match interview on court.

The No. 2 seed Murray, who had to battle from a two sets to love deficit in the first round against Radek Stepanek and a two sets to one deficit to a French wild card in the second round, has been able to gain confidence throughout his run to the final and return to the form that saw him win the title in Rome just before the French Open began.

That form from Murray was at peak levels on Friday against a player who reached his own peak levels of form in the French Open final in 2015 as Wawrinka put on a masterclass performance to snatch the title and the calendar grand slam from Novak Djokovic last year.

When Wawrinka, who was on a 12-match win streak at Roland Garros, held at love and forced Murray to take 11 minutes to hold his first service game, it looked like things may very well be in the favor of the Suisse in the early stages. This may not have been surprising at all to fans of Wawrinka as he had won his last three matches against Murray and had never lost a set to him on clay.

That feeling quickly changed though as Murray was able to save a break point before breaking Wawrinka in the next game, eventually leading 3-1.

The rest of the set was pretty straight forward until Murray served to close out the set as he was forced to fend off three break points before taking the one set lead.

It was all Murray in the second set as he broke Wawrinka at love for a 2-1 lead before breaking again two games later, eventually closing out the set 6-2, losing just three points on serve in the set that lasted only 27 minutes.

Murray continued to roll on serve in the third set, holding at love in his first three service games. The problem for the Brit was he was unable to convert the one break point he saw in the set, and Wawrinka was able to take advantage of the first poor service game Murray played since the beginning of the match, fighting back from 40-15 and winning four points in a row to break and win the set.

Wawrinka stealing the third set just delayed the inevitable as Murray’s roll went right over that minor speed bump as he was able to break in the first game of the fourth set. Murray had zero trouble on serve in the fourth set, losing just four points in four games, including a hold at love to close out the match and clinch his spot in the final.

“Stan has been unbelievable the last two years. I’ve played one of my best matches today…I’m just really proud. I never expected to reach the final here…Hopefully I can put up a good match in the final,” said Murray.

Murray’s impressive fitness level and ability to hit effective groundstrokes from anywhere on the court were on full display, as he looks like he can pose a very dangerous threat to Djokovic in this year’s final.

MurrayBeatsWawrinka

Andy Murray Survives Against French Wild Card In Another Five-Setter At Roland Garros

by Kevin Craig

@KCraig_Tennis

 

French wild card Mathias Bourgue gave Andy Murray another scare at the French Open on Wednesday as he forced the two-time major champion to five sets. Murray, who had to come back from two sets to love down to beat Radek Stepanek in the first round, had to fight back from a two sets to one hole in the second round, eventually earning the 6-2, 2-6, 4-6, 6-2, 6-3 win.

The No. 2 seeded Murray was not only battling the spirited wild card, but also the French faithful on Court Philippe-Chatrier who gave their full support to Bourgue throughout the match as he gave the crowd much more to cheer for than anticipated.

The match began as most would have expected as Murray raced out to a 6-2, 2-0 lead, but that was where the match turned on its head as Bourgue was able to roll off a six-game win streak, taking the set and leveling the match at one set all.

The Frenchman was able to battle back thanks to a dip in concentration for Murray that led to him making too many unforced errors. “It wasn’t like I was not there mentally, but I just couldn’t find the court,” said Murray.

Bourgue, a 22 year-old who is currently ranked No. 164 in the world, continued his hot streak into the third set and outplayed Murray, utilizing a variety of shots to get the job done.

The sense was present throughout the match that Murray would be able to battle back and find a way to pull out the win, like he has shown so many times before throughout his career. That was the case as Murray was able to begin controlling his shots more in the fourth set, limiting his unforced error count to just three in the set and finding a way to assert himself on the court.

The fifth set was more of the same as the much more experienced Murray continued his roll in the fifth set, attacking the youth and inexperience of Bourgue to earn two breaks and close out the match.

Murray highly praised the young Frenchman for his performance on Wednesday, but clearly stated his disappointment with his own level of play. “Today certainly wasn’t easy. I lost my way on the court today for quite a while…You can’t continue playing matches like that and then expect to win the tournament” said Murray.

The Brit will take on big serving Ivo Karlovic in the third round. Karlovic had a scare himself in the second round, as he was forced to play 22 games in the fifth set of his matchup with Australian Jordan Thompson, eventually pulling out the 6-7(2), 6-3, 7-6(3), 6-7(4), 12-10 win.

Another Frenchman in action on Wednesday was on the opposite end of the potential upset bid as Gilles Simon battled back from two sets to love down to beat Argentine Guido Pella, 4-6, 1-6, 7-5, 7-6(4), 6-4.

Pella, who is having a career year after having reached his career his career high ranking of No. 39 in March, raced out two a two sets lead and looked to be in complete control of the match. After going up a break in the third set and having a 3-1 lead, Pella was just three games away from his first third round appearance at a major, but the battle tested Simon needed to give his French faithful something to cheer for.

After going down 3-1, Simon won six of the next eight games, breaking Pella back to take the third set and keep the match alive.

Pella’s upset bid was far from over, though, as he broke in the first game of the fourth set and held a 4-2 lead before Simon was once again able to break late in the set to get back on serve, eventually forcing a tiebreak. The Argentine’s hopes looked to be crushed in that fourth set tiebreak as Simon raced out to a 5-0 lead and eventually won 7-4 to force a deciding fifth set.

The battle continued into the fifth set as each player was forced to battle in their service games, including at 2-2 where Simon had two break points and took advantage of the second one to begin his closing out of the match.

When the Frenchman served for it at 5-4, Pella showed just how much of a battler he is. A 22-point game ensued and Pella had a look at three break points, but Simon was too good and came up clutch as he saved all of them and finished off the comeback win to the delight of the Parisian crowd.

Simon’s epic win sets up a battle in the third round with Viktor Troicki.

Kerber and Azarenka Upset As Murray Survives At Roland Garros

Australian Open champion Angelique Kerber was upset on Tuesday at the French Open by Kiki Bertens of the Netherlands, 6-2, 3-6, 6-3, highlighting the biggest upset so far this year in Paris.

Kerber, the No. 3 seed in the event, had the unfortunate luck of drawing Bertens who was on a seven match win streak and had won 18 of her last 21 matches, dating back to March.

The Dutchwoman was able to continue her good run of form into Paris, as she got off to a hot start, breaking Kerber in just her second service game of the match. From there, Bertens, the No. 58 player in the world, only lost four points on her serve to close out the set, and broke the German again for a comfortable first set win.

Kerber looked to bounce back in the second set, as she fought through getting taken to deuce in her first two service games while Bertens cruised through hers. In the sixth game of the set, though, the tides appeared to turn as Bertens played one poor service game and Kerber jumped all over it, breaking at love for her first lead of the match. Bertens was able to break back in the next game, but Kerber kept her composure and broke once more before closing out the set comfortably, taking the match to a decider.

Bertens didn’t let the disappointment of dropping the second set get to her and, unlike most upset bids, was able to stave off the late fight of the more experienced player. Bertens broke in Kerber’s first service game of the third set, but Kerber certainly did not allow her to cruise to the win. While serving at 3-1, Bertens fought off two break points to hold before saving one more at 5-3, as she was able to close out the match and book her spot in the second round.

Berten’s opponent in the next round will be Camila Giorgi of Italy, who defeated Frenchwoman Alize Lim, 6-3, 6-2.

Another notable player to exit the French Open was No. 5 seed Victoria Azarenka, as she was forced to retire while losing in the third set against Karin Knapp with a knee injury.

On the men’s side, Andy Murray was able to fight back from two sets to love down in his match that was suspended from Monday against Radek Stepanek, 3-6, 3-6, 6-0, 6-3, 7-5. After dropping the first two sets to the experienced Czech, Murray fought back to win the third set and was up 4-2 when play had to be stopped for the night.

When play resumed on Tuesday, Murray was able to close out the fourth set, saving two break points along the way, and force a deciding fifth set that was much tougher than he would have hoped.

Murray had very few problems on his serve throughout the set, but Stepanek fought hard on his service games and gave the Brit very little to work with. That was the case until he served at 5-5 and Murray was finally able to break through, breaking at 30-40 for the chance to close out the match.

Murray, the No. 2 seed, was taken to deuce by Stepanek, but was able to close out the win in the end and force a matchup with French wild card Mathias Bourgue in the second round.

 

Djokovic, Nadal or Murray – Who Will Win The 2016 French Open?

The second Grand Slam of the year has started – and there‘s a big buzz about the victor-to-be already. Will we continue to see the same legendary players snatching their consecutive titles, or could we hope for a bit of fresh air in terms of a new star? Let‘s take a look at who‘s the most likely to win French Open.

 

A Debut Title for Djokovic?

While it may sound hardly likely that any title could be a first for a player like this, all tennis fans know that the only Grand Slam that Djokovic is yet to win is Roland Garros.  He managed to go to the finals thrice – and was defeated by Rafael Nadal in 2012 and 2014 and by Stan Wawrinka in 2015. Could this finally be his year?

According to the UK-licensed bookie TonyBet, it absolutely can: the odds for his outright win are 1.80, which is way ahead of anyone else. It’s only fair, too, as the world’s #1 has double the points that #2 Murray managed to collect, and he’s been in incredible form for a ridiculously long time.

Djokovic started off his season with a sixth Australian Open title, and while he did have a blip in his performance when he lost to Jiri Vesely in Monte Carlo, it seems to have gone away. He won Madrid Masters against Murray and even though the Scot managed to then stop him in Rome finals, the Serb remains a powerful contender.

Could Rafael Nadal Make a Phoenix Comeback?

If Djokovic seems to have disproportional amounts of trouble at French Open, Nadal is the exact opposite. He’s got nine titles, of which four and then five were consecutive, although Rafa did struggle last year and only went through to the QF. If there’s a Grand Slam he can rule though, it’s this one: can we expect the old Nadal back?

The TonyBet bookies think that he’s got a fair shot at this as they’ve given him the odds of 4.75 at winning his tenth Roland Garros. The world’s #5 has been having struggles with his form since 2014 when he suffered an injury, and his first Grand Slam of 2016 ended in the first round.

However, since then he’s managed to win Monte Carlo and Barcelona, although he did lose to Murray in Madrid Master’s SF and to Djokovic in Rome’s QF. Nadal seems to have gained at least some of his form back, and the upcoming tournament will really be a good show of that. And who knows – maybe he’ll finally win another Grand Slam title!

Andy Murray to Keep Climbing?

The Scottish player had a pretty good season last year – even though he didn’t bring home any Grand Slam titles, his form was pretty good and he managed to push Britain’s national team to the first Davis Cup trophy in 79 years. Could Murray go on to win his first French Open?

Even though the furthest that world’s #2 has managed to go in this tournament before is semi-finals, TonyBet bookies seem to have a reasonable amount of faith in him. The odds for Murray winning Roland Garros are at 4.90 which is just a smidge behind what Nadal got. Obviously, Djokovic remains a force to be reckoned with, but even he can fall.

The Serb has already been a big hurdle for Murray this year, beating him at the finals of Australian Open and Madrid Masters. However, the Scot managed to win against Djokovic at Rome finals, which is definitely a very good sign – although it remains clear that this is one of the scariest opponents he could face.

Still, we never know what surprises may strike us. A dark horse win is always a possibility, and we have seen that plenty of times in the past. While Djokovic, for example, absolutely dominates the ATP ratings, that doesn‘t mean he‘ll get every title. In any case, there‘s a lot to look forward to in the French Open, so make sure to not miss it!

Andy Murray Begins Quest To Reach All Four Major Finals In Monte Carlo

 

The French Open is the only major tournament that British number one Andy Murray has not reached the final of and the Scot is in full swing to carve out the historical accomplishment. His first clay-court match of the pre-French Open swing came at the Monte Carlo Masters, where he Murray took on the qualifier Pierre-Hugues Herbert. Murray did not have things all his own way however, as after taking the first set in dominant fashion, Murray let his attention drop, eventually losing the second 6-4 before prevailing in three sets. Murray is now offered odds of 10/1 with Coral to claim the trophy in Monte Carlo come the end of the week.

With next month’s French Open on the horizon, Murray is looking to equal or better is effort of winning two trophies on the red dirt last year.

Having recently become a father for the first time with wife Kim, Murray certainly has a lot to juggle over the coming months. After the clay court season he will return to home territory to begin his preparations for another charge towards the Wimbledon title. The world number two will go into the tournament as one of the favourites usual, with bookmakers Coral giving odds of 7/2 for Murray to claim his second title in South West London. The odds on Murray winning Wimbledon this year of course take into account the form of Djokovic, who after claiming the season opening Australian Open, looks in ominous form.

Murray knows he will have to significantly up his game if he is to have any chance of adding to his two Grand Slam wins to date, with early tournament defeats to Grigor Dimitrov and Federico Delbonis in recent weeks a real cause for concern.

Novak Djokovic Holds Huge ATP Ranking Points Lead Over No. 2 Andy Murray – Passing Shots with Kevin Craig

by Kevin Craig

@KCraig_Tennis

 

  • Novak Djokovic’s Australian Open title is his 11th major title overall and puts him on even terms with Rod Laver’s and Bjorn Borg’s 11 major titles. Djokovic now also has six Australian Open titles, matching Roy Emerson’s record.
  • The current points gap in the ATP rankings between No. 1 Djokovic and No. 2 Andy Murray is equal to the points gap between No. 2 Murray and No. 36 Pablo Cuevas. With his win at the Australian Open, Djokovic is now guaranteed to hold the No. 1 ranking for at least 100 consecutive weeks.
  • After hitting 100 unforced errors in his fourth round win over Gilles Simon, Djokovic hit only 88 unforced errors combined in his last three matches.
  • Angelique Kerber was a combined 1-11 against Victoria Azarenka and Serena Williams heading into the 2016 Australian Open before beating Azarenka in the semifinals and Williams in the final.
  • The loss in the 2016 Australian Open final was just the fifth loss in a major final for Williams, and her first in three sets.
  • For the first time in Australian Open history, eight different countries were represented in both the men’s and women’s singles draws. Serbia, Japan, Switzerland, the Czech Republic, France, Canada, Spain, and Great Britain were represented on the men’s side while the United States, Russia, Poland, Spain, Germany, Belarus, Great Britain, and China were represented on the women’s side.
  • Jamie Murray became the first person not named Bob or Mike Bryan to make three straight major doubles finals since Mark Knowles and Daniel Nestor did it in 2002. Jamie and his brother Andy Murray will now both be ranked No. 2 in the doubles and singles rankings, respectively, the first time two brothers have done so.
  • Bruno Soares became the first player to win two titles at the Australian Open by virtue of winning the men’s and mixed doubles since Rennae Stubbs won the women’s and mixed doubles titles in 2000.
  • Di Wu became the first player from China to win a challenger title as he took home the title in Maui. Wu beat the No. 1 seed Kyle Edmund in the final, 4-6, 6-3, 6-4.

Novak Djokovic Beats Andy Murray To Win Record-Tying Sixth Australian Open Title, 11th Major Title

by Kevin Craig

@KCraig_Tennis

 

Novak Djokovic claimed his sixth Australian Open title and 11th major singles title overall on Sunday night in Melbourne as he defeated Andy Murray in the final, 6-1, 7-5, 7-6. The win evens Djokovic up with Rod Laver and Bjorn Borg at 11 major titles, a number which Djokovic will surely increase by the end of 2016.

The first set started promising for Murray as he had a break point in the opening game of the match on Djokovic’s serve. It was all downhill from there in the first set though, as Djokovic fought for the hold and then quickly raced out to a double break lead at 5-0 in less than 20 minutes. Murray, stunned by what had just happened on the court, started to show signs of life as he was able to get a game on the board and avoid a bagel before making Djokovic stress slightly as he served out the set, having to play a game that lasted 10 points.

Djokovic started off the second set strong again, having a look at four break chances at 1-1. Murray was able to fend those off, but not the break chance Djokovic would see at 3-3, allowing the Serb to take a break lead in the set. Murray refused to go away though, as he quickly earned his first break point since the opening game of the match and took advantage of it to get back on serve. Despite the disappointment of letting the lead slip, Djokovic continued to apply pressure on the Brit’s serve, getting break points at 4-4 and 5-5. Murray was up 40-0 in the 5-5 game, but lost a 37-shot rally to Djokovic, the first of five points that the Serb would go on to win in a row to get the break advantage and a chance to serve for a two sets to love lead. Murray fought in the 12th game to earn a break point and take Djokovic to deuce, but the Serb didn’t let up and was able to successfully take the set.

The match appeared done and dusted early in the third set as Djokovic broke in the opening game and then held at love for a 2-0 lead. Combine that with the fact Djokovic had only ever lost from two sets up once, to Jurgen Melzer at the 2010 French Open, and there was little hope for the No. 2 player in the world. Murray, though, was able to earn break points in back-to-back service games from Djokovic, and was successful in the latter game as he got the third set back on serve. It was straightforward to the tiebreak from there as the returners only got past 15 twice in the last six games of the set. After fighting so hard to get to the tiebreak, it appeared as if Murray had nothing left, falling into a 1-6 hole. Djokovic, on his third championship point, hit an ace down the T that sealed the straight sets victory and his 11th major title.

The disappointing moment for Murray sees him lose to Djokovic in the Australian Open final for the fourth time. Murray, though, does not have to stress about tennis for a couple weeks as he can head back home to his wife and await the birth of their first child.

Djokovic’s success stemmed from his application of pressure on Murray’s second serve and being able to force him into hitting unforced errors. The 35 percent success rate on second serve and 65 unforced errors will create an easy recipe for the No. 1 player in the world to grab the win. Djokovic was able to do so in less than three hours as he was not only able to level Laver’s and Borg’s number of major titles, but also evened himself with Roy Emerson’s six Australian Open titles. Djokovic continues to look unstoppable early in 2016, and the tennis world is left waiting to see who has the ability to beat the best player in the world.

Andy Murray Outlasts Milos Raonic To Reach Australian Open Final For Fifth Time

by Kevin Craig

@KCraig_Tennis

Andy Murray is into his fifth Australian Open final after defeating Milos Raonic 4-6, 7-5, 7-6, 6-4, 6-2 on Friday in Melbourne. Murray ended Raonic’s undefeated start to the season, as the Canadian had won nine matches in a row to start off 2016. Murray will go on to face Novak Djokovic in the final of the Australian Open for a fourth time, the most recent of which came in 2015 with Djokovic winning in four sets.

The eagerly anticipated semifinal match between the No. 2 seed and the No. 13 seed got off to a start that not many people would have expected. Raonic broke Murray at love to start off the match, before fighting back from a 0-40 whole on his serve to get the hold and go up 2-0. There’s not much else to say about the first set, other than that Raonic had another break chance at 4-2, but Murray snuffed it out. Too little too late for Murray, as Raonic cruised on his serve throughout the set to take the early lead.

The second started very tight as Murray had break points in two of Raonic’s first three service games, but was unable to convert on any of them. Raonic struggled to make an impact on Murray’s serve throughout the duration of the set, winning only six points on Murray’s serve. Being able to relax on his own serve allowed Murray to continue to apply pressure on Raonic’s serve, opening up a break chance in the 12th game of the set. Murray would not miss out on this opportunity, as he took it and the set to level the match.

Five holds at love started off the third set as both players appeared to settle down a bit now that the match was back at even. Only once in the set did a returner get past 30 in a game, and that was when Raonic took Murray to deuce at 5-5 and saw a break point. Raonic failed to convert on that, but when the set went to a tiebreak, he was ready to pounce on the big points, taking it 7-4 and going up two sets to one.

The experienced Murray didn’t let the disappointment of dropping the third set get to him, as he waited for an opportunity in the fourth set to take advantage of. It took a while, as once again the servers dominated and the returner got past 15 only once in the first six games of the set, but when Raonic played one poor service game at 3-3, Murray was all over it and broke at love to take the lead. The last three games of the set all went to deuce as Raonic had three opportunities to get back on serve in the set, but Murray played too well for Raonic and closed out the fourth set to even the match up again.

Raonic’s window to get the win appeared to close as the fourth set ended as Raonic quickly found himself down 4-0 in the fifth set. The Canadian appeared to be hindered by a groin injury throughout the match, but the pain intensified as the match approached the end. Murray took advantage of Raonic’s inability to move as well as he had been, jumping out to the double break lead and not looking back, only losing one point on serve in the deciding set.

Murray’s consistent level of play and tough defense proved to be too much for Raonic throughout the match, as Murray hit only 28 unforced errors, 50 less than what Raonic hit. Murray also applied a lot of pressure on Raonic’s second serve, as Raonic won only 44 percent of the points on his second serve.

Despite the loss, Raonic has proved to the tennis world that he has made the necessary improvements to compete at the highest level of tennis. With wins over Roger Federer and Stan Wawrinka already in 2016, combined with this valiant effort against Murray, the rest of the ATP will be on the lookout for the big hitting Canadian.

Murray will now take advantage of the much needed day of rest after having to battle Raonic for over four hours, before taking on Djokovic in the final. Murray has played Djokovic in five of the nine grand slam finals that he has played in, but has not been able to beat him in the three finals they’ve played in Melbourne. Murray did come out victorious at the US Open in 2012 and Wimbledon in 2013, and will hope to replicate those results on Sunday night in Rod Laver Arena.