Fri, September 20, 2013

Roger Federer to face Andy Murray for Olympic gold

By REJEAN TREMBLAY, QMI Agency


Switzerland's Roger Federer during his semifinal match against Argentina's Juan Martin del Potro at the London 2012 Olympic Games, Aug. 3, 2012. (STEFAN WERMUTH/Reuters)


LONDON - Hopefully Roger Federer did not leave his gold medal on Wimbledon's centre court Friday afternoon.

Federer, the best player in history, fought valiantly against Argentinian Jean Martin Del Potro in a very stressful match, finally winning after 4 hours and 26 minutes. That's even longer than Canadian's Milos Raonic's defeat earlier this week.

Actually, it is the longest marathon for a two-set victory in tennis history.

On Sunday, Federer will have to start again against Andy Murray, who got rid of Novak Djokovic in two sets (7-5, 7-5), in less than two hours. Murray will play before his supporters and will have the advantages of being younger and more rested than Federer. It may make a difference.

Friday, after beating Del Potro, Federer just waved with his right arm to show his happiness and his relief. Del Potro seemed barely able to refrain from crying.

Federer was pressured the whole match. He lost the first set and was unable to break Del Potro's serve in the second set, leaving him to soldier on and win his serve at all cost just to survive.

It is rare to see Federer lose his cool. Yet he did during the second half of the second set. Del Potro was serving 4-4. And Federer gained three break points with a 40-0 lead. He had done it. he had forced Del Potro to return a ball in mid-court, the smash would be a piece of cake and the Swiss would break Del Proto. Except Federer smashed the ball without any power next to the Argentinian, who recovered and won the point. Federer was angry. About himself and his failings. Losing his focus. He missed an easy shot near the net and opened the way for Del Potro to save his serve.

During the endless third set, he had to save himself after Del Potro's serve. Except for a 10-10 break, Federer was in survival mode. So much that he finally won 19-17 after a stressful and exhausting marathon.

Usually, Federer would be the easy choice for the gold medal. But here, in this Wimbledon which doesn't even look like Wimbledon, with its flashing colours and sponsors, it is hard to know what to think.