The 2013 Australian Open men’s second semi final is being played today at 7:30pm local time in Melbourne Australia between No.2 seed Roger FEDERER and No.3 seed Andy MURRAY. Below OnCourt Advantage lists plenty of interesting facts and figures about these two players.
The 1.9m Murray’s best results to date at the Australian Open are being the runner-up in 2010 and 2011. Last year the Scot made it to the semis before eventual champion Novak Djokovic took the fifth set 7-5 after Murray lead by 2 sets to 1. The right-handed No.3 seed won through to his fourth straight semi final at Melbourne Park to improve his Australian Open win-loss record to 28-7 as the only player not to lose a single set.
The 25-year-old Murray is playing his 13th Grand Slam semi final going in with a 5-7 win-loss record in Grand Slam semis. The double-handed backhand exponent has made it to at least the quarter finals in 15 of the past 18 Grand Slams since making his first Slam quarter final at Wimbledon in 2008. The 2012 US Open singles champion has made the semis or better in 8 of his past 9 Grand Slam events.
Head-to-Head Murray versus Federer
Murray leads Federer 10-9 in their career head-to-head meetings, including winning two of the most recent three matches in straight sets. Murray made a huge break through against Federer in 2012 by defeating him for the first time in a best-of-five set match and in a major event: the London Olympics, to win the men’s singles gold medal for Great Britain. The London victory is a huge confidence boost for Murray against Federer in today’s best-of-five set match as he now knows he can beat Federer in this match format.
Murray and Federer have only ever played on three occasions in Grand Slam events, each time being in the final. This is the first time they meet in the semis and will be the first time Murray wins if he can out-perform Federer today. Their three previous Grand Slam meetings were at the 2008 US Open, 2010 Australian Open and Wimbledon in 2012. All bar two of their 19 matches have been on hard court with Murray holding the 9-8 edge.
The 1.85m Federer’s best results to date at the Australian Open winning the title on four occasions: in 2004, 2006, 2007 and 2010. Last year the Swiss made it to the semis before Rafael Nadal took three straight sets after Federer took the 1st set in a tiebreak. The right-handed No.2 seed won through to a record tenth straight semi final at Melbourne Park to improve his Australian Open win-loss record to 68-9 and become the first male player to win 250+ Grand Slam singles matches.
The 31-year-old Federer is playing his 33rd Grand Slam semi final going in with a 24-8 win-loss record in Grand Slam semis. The connoisseur of the full variety of single-handed backhands has made it to at least the quarter finals in the past 35 Grand Slams events. The men’s all-time record holder for most Grand Slam singles titles won with 17 thus far, will be looking to play his 25th Grand Slam final and add to his streak of playing at least one Grand Slam singles final a year for the past 10 years.
It is not worth the energy or argument to deem one player a favourite and the other an underdog in this match. You will be better off thinking about the following things pan out as these two great players lock horns for a shot at Novak Djokovic who is going for his third straight Australian Open singles title…
How effectively Murray uses pace, counter-punches and plays his passing shots. How Federer creates pace, if he can effectively attack his opponent and successfully close out points at the net. Murray walks the line of playing too conservatively and allowing his opponent to dictate the play. Federer walks the line of trying so many different shots (because he can hit them all) at the wrong moment and playing too defensively on break point opportunities, set points and on match points. It will be very interesting to see who can get the right balance today as they both fight for the title-shot opportunity.
Who gets the better in this battle of a great return game player versus a great server will be critical in the outcome. A sign of how well a player is coping mentally with the challenges, opponent and occasion is how smooth, rhythmical and successful his service action can be continually executed. It will be especially interesting to see how Murray serves today and whether Federer can continue to always play great tennis in tiebreaks.
Murray is way out of Federer’s league in terms of Grand Slam singles success. However, it’s ALL about who can bring out their best tennis today and perform at a higher level than their opponent, when they are under pressure and at the critical SWING stages of each set. Without further a do, BRING IT ON! Ready? Play.
Photo credit: Beth Wilson