In a tournament that had seen multiple upsets throughout it’s two week run Andy Murray avoided any potential slip-ups in a scintillating performance today as he put away Milos Raonic in fine fashion to hoist the Wimbledon trophy for a second time.
Murray, who was second favourite going into the tournament and when defending champion Novak Djokovic lost in the third round to Sam Querrey it would have been easy for Murray to think it was all in the bag but the consummate professional that he is Murray took nothing of granted. After a wobble in the quarter-final against Jo Wilfried-Tsonga, Murray watching Raonic make a stunning back comeback against Roger Federer in the semi-final before he dispatched Tomas Berdych in straight sets.
The big serving Canadian posed something of a unique threat to Murray as he fired down 135 mph with ease and took every opportunity to come into the net and use his enormous wing-span to frustrate Murray. However it was Murray’s brilliant return game that stymied any rhythm from Raonic, as he punched back the big serves and gave Raonic problems when they got into a baseline rally. Mid-way through the second set Murray didn’t just push back a 147 mph serve but put Raonic on the backfoot, winning the point with a brilliant cross-court shot to win the point in two swishes of his racket.
To Raonic’s credit he never looked disheartened. Even when Murray got his breakthrough in the first set Raonic fought back the next game and very nearly broke back immediately. However every time Raonic started to feel like he had a chance Murray would come firing back with some impossible return or shot. He was just able to drag Raonic around the court and work his weak backhand.
Still, Raonic’s serve and net play was strong enough to get him to a second set tie-breaker, one of the strengths of his game, but Murray won the opening point against serve and never looked back.
After taking a break to gather himself before the third set Raonic once again threw himself against Murray’s brick wall of a defence. He pushed Murray in the first game and then got breakpoint in 5th game at 30-40 only to send a backhand into the net.
The third set stayed on serve like the second, and with Raonic serving at 6-5 down – to stay in the championship – the pressure of Murray’s returns began to tell. Raonic had to hammer down a massive second serve ace to get to 30-0, taking risks that he normally would not. Still, he was able to hold and take the third set to a tie-breaker.
The physical and mental exertion put forth by Raonic just to hold serve after serve was too much in the tie-breaker as Murray blasted his way through Raonic’s opening two points to take a 3-0 lead and then finally the fight began to drain from the young Canadian. Murray dominated his own service points to go 5-0 up. At 6-1 Murray hit two let-first serves and a fault before losing the point but he would not be denied, winning the tie-break 7-2 and taking the match and the championship in straight sets.
It was a strong two weeks for Raonic and it won’t be too long before we see him in another Grand Slam final, but for Murray it was sweet victory, 3 years after his last Grand Slam title to claim another after losing both the Australian and French Open finals this year.