Federer Wins Fourth Australian Open, 16th Major Singles Title
by ATP Staff
Contesting his 22nd career Grand Slam singles final, World No. 1 Roger Federer collected his 16th major title with a 6-3, 6-4, 7-6(11) win over No. 5 seed Andy Murray at the Australian Open on Sunday.
The 28-year-old Swiss master, appearing in his 18th final from the past 19 Grand Slam events, notched his fifth win over Murray from 11 contests in the two-hour, 41-minute clash as he regained the title he lost to Rafael Nadal last year. It was a repeat of the 2008 US Open final (Murray's first in a major), which Federer also won in three straight sets.
Federer becomes the fifth man to win at least four Australian Open titles (2004, 2006, 2007, 2010) and only the second to do so at Melbourne Park alongside Andre Agassi. It is his first Grand Slam title won as a father, with his wife Mirka giving birth to twin girls six months ago.
"Coming here at the beginning of the year and playing so well, it's a beautiful feeling," said Federer, who edged ahead of Pete Sampras to win a record 15th major at Wimbledon last year. "I definitely had to play some of my best tennis tonight to come through. That was clearly the case."
On a day during which the mercury reached 37 degrees Celsius (98.6 Fahrenheit), stormy weather later in the day meant the roof on Rod Laver Arena was only partially open at the start of the match in case the rain returned. But as the skies cleared the roof was opened more, providing perfect conditions for the last match of the 2010 tournament.
Federer broke Murray to love with winners off both wings to lead 2-0 in the first set but Murray returned the favour immediately, hitting some scorching winners to break back.
While Murray continued to threaten Federer's serve he failed to hold another break point from 2-all first set until early in the third set as Federer broke in the eighth game of the first and third game of the second, which was enough for him to take a two-set lead.
"I thought it was very physical at the beginning," Federer said. "We both wanted to win the long rallies, and the start was crucial because it was so intense."
Federer had never lost a Grand Slam match after leading two sets to love, and while Murray appeared to pull up gingerly on his right leg at 2-2 his intensity increased while Federer's dipped slightly.
At 2-3, Federer fell to 0-40 and though he saved two break points Murray won a quick-fire exchange at the net to lead 4-2 which fired up the Scot and the capacity crowd. A confident hold for 5-2 had Murray close to forcing a fourth set, but serving at 5-3 Murray allowed Federer his first break points of the set, and the top seed levelled proceedings.
"There was no reason to panic," said Federer of his 5-2 third-set deficit. "I was still leading two sets to love, and Andy's such a great returner so it wasn't a big problem. I was still happy with the way things were going up to that point."
Fittingly, the third set was decided on a tie-break with both men playing somewhat conservatively. Murray held the first set points at 6-4 but an unreturnable Federer forehand and a Murray forehand error erased both opportunities.
Murray held three more set points but Federer's experience and bravery paid dividends as he held his first championship points 8-7 and 10-9. On the second, Murray chased down a drop volley and hit a backhand that Federer watched drop in, much to his disappointment.
"I hesitated for a split second - I could've played the ball but I decided to let it go, and matches have been lost in the past this way. I'm always positive, but obviously that could have cost me the match and the tournament."
After Murray netted a return on his fifth set point at 11-10, Federer took the next two points as a tired Murray backhand into the net gave Federer the title.
“I always knew it was going to be a very intense match," said Federer. "I'm happy I was able to play so aggressively and patiently at the same time because that's what you got to be against Murray."
"I don't feel great," Murray said. "I wanted to win the tournament. I think it was more the way the end of the match finished. Obviously it was pretty emotional end to the match."
It certainly wasn't a painless path to the title for Federer, who come from behind to beat Russians Igor Andreev in the first round and Nikolay Davydenko in the quarter-finals. Nonetheless, Federer has now won a Grand Slam singles title in each of the past eight years, a feat matched only by Bjorn Borg (1974-81) and Pete Sampras (1993-2000).
Just as Federer fought back tears during last year's trophy presentation after his harrowing five-set loss to Nadal, Murray was overcome during his speech on-court. "I can cry like Roger; it's a shame I can't play like him," Murray joked.
Much had been made of the fact that at age 22 and contesting his 17th Grand Slam event, Murray was at the exact point in his career as Federer was when he won his first major title.
After his semi-final victory over Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Federer had joked that it had been 150,000 years since a British man had won a major singles title. In fact Fred Perry's US Open victory came in 1936, now followed by six runner-up finishes.
“The next one (Grand Slam final) is not going to get any easier [for Murray]," said Federer. "But his game is so good that I'm convinced he will win one. And I thought he did really well tonight because conditions were tough. I think I played a great match. So someone's got to win, and I'm happy it was me."
"Tonight's match was a lot closer than the one at Flushing Meadows," said Murray, comparing his first and second major finals. "I had a chance at the beginning of the match, and I had chances at the end of the match.
"I worked really, really hard to try to do it and give myself the opportunity; so far it's not been good enough. But I'm sure one day it will be. When it comes, maybe because of the two losses, it will be even better."
The official attendance of 653,860 beats the previous record by nearly 50,000 spectators.
It was also announced that approximately $687,000 was raised from the Hit For Haiti appeal launched by Federer on the eve of the tournament, aiding those affected by the recent earthquake.
Federer takes home A$2.1 million for winning the men's singles title while Murray earned A$1.05 million.