October 17, 2010

Here We Go Again

Some tennis stars have a way of coming through just when you've started to forget about them. Andy Murray, I begrudgingly admit, might be one of those players.

You might remember how he seemingly came out of nowhere to take the title in Toronto back in August. He'd done the same thing two years ago in Cincinnati, rebounding from a mediocre spring and early summer, to beat Novak Djokovic to capture his first Masters title.

These days, the world #4, just a stone's throw away from the top spot earlier this year, has been a little spotty. He entered the Australian and U.S. Opens as one of the favorites but failed to deliver on both counts, crashing out of the Melbourne finals without winning a set and dropping in the third round in New York thanks to a glorious performance by Stanislas Wawrinka. In recent weeks he's come dangerously close to ceding his position to Robin Soderling, a man who's arguably put up a better fight in his two Major finals, and a light post-Open schedule, highlighted only by an early loss in Beijing, had pushed him out of the headlines.

Then he came to Shanghai.

Another top-flight tournament which attracted all sixteen of the top men's players, the draw put Murray in the same half of the bracket as the newest Grand Slam winner, Rafael Nadal. But with the Beijing champ eliminated early, the Scot only faced one seed in his opening matches and was able to advance easily to the finals.

There he met Roger Federer who was going after his record-tying eighteenth Masters title. But though the former #1 had won the pair's first three championship match meetings, Murray had reversed that momentum in Canada, and kept the flow on his side today. Helped by his opponent's thirty unforced errors, Andy survived some sloppy serving on his side of the net and was able to break serve four times to capture the trophy, his second of the year and at the expense of King Fed.

Not a bad streak to have in your book.

With the win, Andy Murray claimed his sixth Masters trophy, quite a ways behind some of the current greats, but certainly enough to remind us all that he's a force to be reckoned with. And in a year where he's been so unpredictable, there's no better statement to make.

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