Andy Murray ended a nine-month title drought on Sunday at the ATP Masters Canadian Open in Toronto, defeating frequent foil and former No. 1 Roger Federer amidst numerous rain delays 7-5, 7-5.
Murray quickly moves from struggling Slam-wannabee to a favorite in the run-up to the US Open.
“It’s the first time I beat Roger and Rafa in the same tournament, which is probably the most pleasing thing, and then didn’t drop a set against either of them,” Murray said. “So it’s good for the confidence for the next few weeks.”
Federer, coming off a late-night three-set win over Novak Djokovic looked a bit sluggish in his footwork and struggled to get out in front of Murray.
“If you have a bad start like I did today or if he starts off well, you’re always running behind the score,” Federer said. “It was particularly hard being down 3-love with a double break, running behind the score, and still losing the first set, and not coming through there obviously was a bit of a blow, and then the rain delays completely shut it down for me to get any kind of rhythm…I thought he played well. He was aggressive. He was taking the ball early. He wasn’t giving me much, and he clutch served at the very end when he had to, and he deserved the victory.”
The 23-year-old Murray is the first player to defend a Canadian Open title since Andre Agassi in 1994-95. Murray, who has frequently comes under criticism for playing too passively in big matches, says he just let it flow.
“I’m just playing a bit freer,” Murray said. “I was going for my shots more today. You know, just felt pretty calm on the court all week, and if you can put sort of the emotions and how you’re feeling into I guess the way you’re playing rather than sort of showing it after every point, sort of saving up and putting into the points and the rallies, I felt like it worked well. It was one of the best weeks I’ve had, it was just kind of expressing myself with the way I was playing. I played pretty free flowing tennis and didn’t get too nervous.”
Federer added that although the Brit has struggled for titles of late, he remains among the upper echelon of players vying for a Slam title.
“He’s beaten me six, seven times now,” said Federer, who lost to Murray for the first time in a final. “He’s beaten Rafa in the past on hardcourts. It was just another great showing from him on a big stage.”
Murray improved his career record against Federer to 7-5.
TENNIS-X NEWS, NOTES, QUOTES AND BARBS
THAT’S A LOT TO SWALLOW — Nigerian pro tennis player Dairo Toyin was arrested by the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency at a Lagos airport for smuggling drugs this month. The 30-year-old Nigerian Davis Cup player was apprehended while attempting to board a British Airways flight to London with the final destination New York, according to allafrica.com. Dairo told the press, “I am ashamed of myself. It was not intentional. My problem began in 2005 when my sponsor died. There was no one to help, things became difficult. In the process, I was introduced into drug trafficking. I have been smuggling drugs to take care of my bills each time I attended international tournaments. This time around, I was caught. I swallowed 100 wraps and when they weighed it, the weight was 1.445kg. It also tested positive for heroin.” On another note, there is now an opening on the Nigerian Davis Cup team.
AMERICAN RANKING WATCH — We enter Week #2 of no American men in the Top 10 for the first time ever, and Melanie Oudin barely hanging on to her Top 50 ranking. Only Serena and Venus Williams are the only other U.S. women in the Top 50.
What was worse in the Toronto semifinals, Roger Federer’s pink shirt, or Novak Djokovic’s heinous yellow and black outfit, with black socks and some kind of eagle drawing on the back of the shirt? Did that shirt come off the Walmart discount rack? And how bad did Djokovic’s support team look all decked out in the same shirt? Euro puke-tastic…Hey Olympus, come up with a new commercial, that smarmy robot woman walking around with all the “amazing” things going on gets old after the first 125 viewings…Is American Coco Vandeweghe, who can only get into WTA main draws through qualifying or wildcards, such a star now that she can regularly turn her back on ballkids then toss the towel on the court surface for them to pick up rather than handing it to them (or at least throwing it in their general direction)?…Roger Federer says he’ll wear pink again, unfortunately, this week again at Cincinnati: “Yeah, that’s the plan, and then we’re moving on to a different color again for the Open. I think I have a day and night session outfit for the Open. I know I won’t be playing in pink for a while after this. Not that I don’t want to, but it’s all already in the plan till about end of next year already.”…As Tennis-X predicted, Andy Roddick was diagnosed with mono, reportedly ‘mild mono’ which is ‘almost gone’…Kim Clijsters also saved match points earlier this year in the Brisbane final…Roger Federer is now an average Top 3 player, no?…Maria Sharapova had beaten Kim Clijsters in their three previous meetings before the Cincy final, not dropping a set in any of them…The Bryan brothers added to their record title haul in Montreal, beating the French pair Benneteau-Llodra in the final…Taylor Dent and Alejandro Falla were among players making it through the qualifying in Cincy…Props to the Tennis Channel for their feature during the Cincy doubles final broadcast on the on- and off-court lesbian relationship between American Lisa Raymond and Aussie Rennae Stubbs, great profile of what they’ve had to put up with on and off the WTA Tour…Thomas Enqvist won his sixth ATP Champions Tour title in seven events after defeating former French Open Champion Thomas Muster 6-4, 6-4 in the final of the Vale Do Lobo Grand Champions.
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