Olympics: Tennis

Azarenka, Mirnyi deny Murray mixed doubles gold

Max Mirnyi and Victoria Azarenka spoiled the party at the All England Club. (Luis Acosta/AFP/Getty Images)

Hours after Andy Murray’s cathartic gold medal victory over Roger Federer, Britain’s hero of the day couldn’t quite pull off the double on Centre Court at the All England Club.

Victoria Azarenka and Max Mirnyi of Belarus rallied from a one-set hole to topple Murray and 18-year-old teammate Laura Robson 2-6, 6-3, (10-8) for mixed doubles gold.

London marked the return of the mixed doubles tournament, which was last contested at the Olympic Games in 1924. And for the 35-year-old Mirnyi, the victory was extra special. He has won nine total grand slam doubles titles (men’s and mixed), but had never won Olympic gold.

Azarenka adds gold to the women’s singles she won Saturday with a 6-3, 6-4 win over Maria Kirilenko.

Murray crushes Federer for Olympic gold

Andy Murray rolled to a shockingly easy win over Roger Federer for the Olympic gold medal. (Clive Brunskill -- Getty Images)

Just four weeks ago, Andy Murray was reduced to tears on Centre Court when his quest to become the first British man to win Wimbledon since 1936 ended in a four-set defeat to Roger Federer.

Sunday, on the same weathered grass court, Murray claimed the greatest prize of his career — one he shared with all of Britain — by defeating the peerless Swiss champion to win Olympic gold in men’s singles.

Murray wept again, this time with joy and disbelief, upon clinching the 6-2, 6-1, 6-4 victory that was stunning in its lopsided decisiveness, over in 1  hour 56 minutes.

Read the full story here.

 

Murray takes 6-2, 6-1 lead over Federer

The All England club crowd is being driven batty by the play of Andy Murray. (Paul Gilham -- Getty Images)

Centre Court at the All England club has been Roger Federer’s fiefdom since 2003, when he won the first of his seven Wimbledon titles.

But the Swiss champion is under siege here today by an inspired Andy Murray, who is playing fearless tennis in his quest for Olympics singles gold.

Murray has now claimed the first two sets in this best-of-five sets battle, leading 6-2, 6-1 after 1 hour 23 minutes.

And he has done it with an all-out attack, breaking Federer’s vaunted serve in four of the Swiss champion’s first six service games. And he is forcing Federer into a slew of unforced errors.

Though many of the rallies have been thrilling, it’s a lopsided rout so far. And the British crowd, while thrilled with the early results, seems in disbelief of Federer’s uncharacteristic misfiring

Murray up 5-0 in second set of men’s tennis final

Roger Federer is getting run ragged by Andy Murray. (Stefan Wermuth -- Reuters)

It’s rare that Roger Federer loses a set on Centre Court in 38 minutes.

But with an Olympic singles gold medal at stake, Federer did just that in his opening set Sunday against Britain’s Andy Murray, with the Scot jumping out to a 6-2 advantage.

The Swiss champion’s struggles bled into the second set, with Murray breaking Federer at love in his first service game. Federer crushed a routine overhead into the net, then blasted a cross-court backhand several feet beyond the baseline.

The errors were so out of character, it was as if a weekend duffer had suddenly inhabited Federer’s body. With three break points, Murray played tremendous defense, sprinting all over the court in a tortuous rally, and struck a winner to break the Swiss at love.

But it will matter little unless Murray could consolidate the break by holding serve in the third game. And he and Federer all but shed blood to win it.

Federer had six attempts to break Murray’s serve. But the Scot batted each away by playing bolder, rather than conservative tennis, ripping a backhand pass down the line to fend off the sixth break point. Finally Federer sent a backhand long, and Murray took a 3-0 lead. Soon after he was up 5-0.

Murray takes opening set, 6-2, against Federer

Andy Murray tracks down the ball against Roger Federer. (Luis Acosta -- AFP/Getty Images)

After getting the first service break and consolidating it by closing the next game with back-to-back aces, Andy Murray claimed the opening set of  his Olympic men’s tennis final against Roger Federer, 6-2.

Murray, 25, and Federer, 30, have split their previous meetings, 8-8. But the Scot, representing the hope of Britain at the 2012 London Games, has never beaten Federer at the All England club.

In breaking the Swiss a second time to close the opening seat in 38 minutes, Murray got help from the net cord on one point, apologizing to the Swiss by holding up his racket. Federer gagged on an easy forehand volley.

And Murray closed with a ferocious backhand down the line.

The crowd erupted in chants of “Ahn-DEE!” and “Team GB!” the broke into the wave.

The men’s Olympic final is best of five sets, so it’s early yet. But the crowd and the momentum are decidedly in Murray’s corner.

Murray takes 4-2 lead over Federer in first set

After a closely contested start to Sunday’s men’s tennis final at the London Olympics, Andy Murray got the first break of serve to take a 4-2 lead in the opening set, drawing deafening cheers from British partisans in the packed stands.

It was clear even before the first ball was struck that this would be an unusual treat at the staid All England club, where the all-white dress code was waived so Olympians could display their national colors.

Standing ovations are customary when particularly revered champions step onto Centre Court. But Sunday’s ovation when Federer led Murray onto court lasted all the way through the players’ warmups. And once play got underway, they didn’t politely applaud excellent shots, as Wimbledon crowds do; they erupted in lusty, barroom cheers.

Murray served first and got knocked on his heels immediately by the laser-like Federer. But the Scot bravely fended off two break points to hold with a service winner.

Federer was untouchable when it was his turn to serve, opening with an ace and adding another to hold at Love.

And it stayed on serve until the sixth game, in which Murray finally converted his second break point when the Swiss drilled a backhand into the

Centre Court roof retracted for men’s tennis final

It’s as if the heavens are rooting for Andy Murray today.

Just moments before the Scot was due to take on Roger Federer in the men’s gold-medal final, the skies over the All England club cleared and Centre Court’s roof was slowly retracted.

It’s more than issue of aesthetics. It’s an issue of competitive balance, as the July 8 Wimbledon final proved.

Playing brilliant tennis, Murray won the opening set and still had the upper hand when the rains came to stay, forcing officials to deploy the roof over Centre Court that was built especially for the 2012 Olympic Games.

Once play resumed, Federer seized the advantage, raising his level of play by lowering the margin of error on his shots under the wind-less, climate-controlled conditions. And he rallied for a four-set victory that left the normally sturdy Murray, the hope of Britain, in tears.

Today, the peerless Federer seeks the one title to elude him, Olympic singles gold. A victory would make Federer the third man and fifth player overall to claim a Golden Slam by winning all four majors and singles gold. That exclusive club consists of Andre Agassi, Rafael Nadal, Steffi Graf and newly minted Serena Williams

And this is surely Federer’s last chance, with the Swiss competing in his fourth Olympics just three days shy of his 31st birthday.

Today’s gold-medal match, like all men’s Grand Slam finals, will be a best-of-five-set affair.

Also Sunday, the men’s singles bronze medal will be slugged out by Novak Djokovic of Serbia and Argentina’s Juan Martin Del Potro.

Shortly afterward, Murray is due back on Center Court with Laura Robson to face Max Mirnyi and Victoria Azarenka of Belarus in the mixed doubles final.

And already, the capacity crowd is going nuts, offering a standing ovation to the players’ warmups!