Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Weekend Victories

In the searing Australian summer heat, Andy Murray and Serena Williams climbed to the top of the greasy pole in their respective tournaments. Serena made short work of her opponent, despite a high error count. Disgust at anything less than perfection show the desire which motivates her at the moment. Williams is so far ahead of the field at present that it is difficult to predict anything less than a clean sweep of slams. Should she remain free of illness and injury, no woman can stop her.
The Brisbane final was far less comfortable for Murray despite the result. Grigor Dmitrov's performance, although flawed, demonstrated the tactical guile and talent which should take him towards the top ten. Murray overcame significant breaks and punishing spells of Bulgarian domination to overcome through power, will and effort, showing why he is now a true slam contender.
Dmitrov's performance was the real interest here. Using the slice to mix up his play, he pulled Murray around the court effortlessly. A mixture of guile and tactical nous allowed the Bulgarian to draw Murray away from the baseline and unbalance him. Clever play around the net had the Scot scrambling.
Clearly, Grigor's new coaching team had been watching footage of Fed's victories over Murray; the use of the Rogeresque backhand slice and the precisely timed attacks had his opponent reeling.
Unfortunately, a lack of self-belief coupled with Murray's physical superiority meant it was all for nothing. This may well be the breakout season for Dmitrov: whether this match heralds a new dawn remains to be seen. The young Bulgarian needs deeper reserves to draw upon.
Andy Murray during a past Davis Cup tie...another John Hovis exclusive pic.

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