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Thoughts On Roddick – Murray Semi-Final Wimbledon 2009 Match

Thoughts On Roddick – Murray Semi-Final Wimbledon 2009 Match

Andy Murray and Andy Roddick started the first set of their Wimbledon 2009 semifinal playing their typical grass court tennis; Roddick relied on his big serve and controlling points with a forehand and Murray changed pace and rotation of the shots all the time; from fast flat forehands to slow backhand slices.

One of Murray’s tactics at the beginning was to lob a lot but none of the attempts was really good. If you read Brad Gilbert’s Winning Ugly, you may remember Brad suggesting that it’s good to lob early in the match in order to keep the attacking player from closing in on the net too much.

You need to instill some doubt in the player at the net by lobbing regularly and then it’s going to be easier later to pass with a short cross court for example since the attacking player will stand further back to cover the possible lobs.

Both players held serves, keeping the first serve percentage very high. Andy Roddick’s first serve percentage at 5:4 in the first set was 85% which is unbelievable for the speed with which he serves…

Roddick played the next Murray’s service game very aggressively, was looking to do something with his shots while Murray played just too passively and was moved around the court by Roddick’s short cross court forehands.

Roddick simply outplayed Murray and won the first set 6:4. Murray can fall into too passive game but he has become better lately at creating more chances and building points with the variety of shots. But the game at 5:4 was not like that…

Murray learns quickly though and he added more pace to his shots in the first return game on Roddick’s serve and managed to break immediately for a one love lead in the second set.

Both players have raised their level of play and the tennis was played at a very high level at the start of the second set. Murray was serving extremely well and Roddick had no chance at all getting even to deuce let alone having a break point…

But Roddick didn’t let up either so it was up to Murray to finish the set at 5:4 on his serve. With smart tennis from the baseline and good serving Murray leveled up the match at one set all.

Andy Roddick fell 0:40 behind in the first service game because Murray produced some great shots. But five first serves later (and a few big forehand and volleys) Roddick held to start the third set with a 1:0 lead.

Roddick definitely raised the pace of this shots in the third set compared to previous two sets and perhaps that was his plan B or perhaps he felt that the 5 set Hewitt match took a lot out of him and wanted to shorten the points…

Roddick’s plan worked and he was soon 15:40 up on Murray’s serve at 1:2. Murray saved the first one with a fantastic top spin lob and the second one with a backhand down the line winner but eventually Roddick managed to break thanks to some good returns and a poor forehand error by Murray.

Roddick had to serve out for the set but fell 0:40 behind. Murray eventually broke and the players were back on serve at 5:4. Both Andys held their serves and the third set had to be decided in the tie-break.

The tennis in the tie-break was of the highest level with Roddick first getting ahead but Murray leveled the score at 4:4. Murray then found his best serves and with aces in a row went 6:5 ahead. Then Roddick took the initiative with a great volley followed by another ace.

A bad bounce on Murray side – and Roddick’s excellent return on a first serve – gave Roddick a set point. He forced Murray to make a tough passing shot and Murray couldn’t make it; 2 sets to 1 for Andy Roddick.

Interestingly, Murray won 103 total points before the start of the fourth set and Roddick won 102. This just shows you how some points are much more important than the others in the game of tennis…

There was good tennis in the fourth set with both Andys holding serve but Murray eventually got to a break point at 4:4. Roddick saved it with aggressive and courageous tennis and leveled at 5:5. The players reached the tie-break again and it was Roddick who went ahead first by playing smart high percentage tennis from the baseline.

Both players played very high percentage tennis avoiding unnecessary risks and Roddick held his advantage to 6:4 and 2 match points. Murray saved the first one with a great backhand passing shot but failed to capitalize on a poor service return from Roddick and eventually played too passively, allowed Roddick to attack and missed the final passing shot.

Andy Roddick wins against Andy Murray in Wimbledon 2009 / Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images
Andy Roddick wins against Andy Murray in Wimbledon 2009 / Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images

Andy Roddick eventually won 3 sets to 1 and I was very impressed by how Roddick managed to win against in form Murray.
Andy Murray was in my opinion too passive for grass court tennis.

He NEVER serve & volleyed and just that stat tells you how passive he was. He needs to take more chances, force the opponent into making tough passing shots and not look for perfectly safe situation to attack.

I am convinced that we will see Andy Murray in the Wimbledon final sooner or later though. Kudos to Andy Roddick for getting through this match and good luck in the final. He’ll need it…

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