Three-Hour Thriller Sends Murray and Simon to Semifinals while Jonas Bjorkman Bids Farewell
November 14, 2008 -- After his first round loss to Gilles Simon earlier this week, Roger Federer said he hoped for a miracle. His back, which forced him to withdraw from the Paris Masters, still caused him problems. He was being medicated for pain. He almost got his wish in his thrilling three-set match against Andy Murray, but in the final set at 5/6 Federer, his formidable forehand broke down. At 15-all he committed three unforced errors off that wing. The match ended 46 76 75. It took Andy three hours plus one lonely minute to send the world's #2 player home, after the week's most highly anticipated match.
"He was obviously in pain," Murray said in a video clip presented on the ATP web site. "He still played awesome points, and seemed to move well."
Federer won the first set 6/4, after the players exchanged breaks and Federer broke Murray at love as he served to stay in the set. Murray quickly went up 2/0 in the second set. At 5/2, he served to level the match. But, Federer wasn't done. He staged a classic comeback, as Murray held two set points, winning the next four games. Murray held to force a tiebreak, and won four points on Federer's serve to bring the match dead even.
Federer received treatment on his back and hip before the third set began.
After Murray led at 3/0, Federer responded by sitting in a linesman's chair. If he had retired from the match, it would have been the first time in his career -- 766 matches. (Take note Novak Djokovic!)
But, Federer got up and continued the match. The score was soon 3/3, then 4/3. He had won another consecutive four games. At 4/5 Federer played his heart out in a game that lasted 17 minutes and included 10 deuces. Murray had seven match points, but didn't convert the necessary one. Although Federer's service percentage fell way off in this set, it was also the stroke that won him this game. Score: 5/5. He screamed with delight, as the crowd exploded in applause and cheers.
Although Murray had already secured a spot in the semis, he was motivated to end Federer's run in Shanghai. If he hadn't, he could have faced him again in the final, a situation the Scot was probably not looking forward to.
Roger was not disappointed in his match play. Surely he wished the score-line was different, but at least now he can rest and prepare for 2009.
As reported by the ATP: "It was a good season. I was happy I could win the US Open for the fifth straight [time]. I'm looking forward to next year, to go for six. It was an incredible match at Wimbledon. [I had] very emotional victories in Basel, my hometownÉ and winning the Olympic gold for Switzerland was a big moment for me. [It was] tough to start off with [and] tough to end."
Andy Murray will face Nikolay Davydenko in one semi tomorrow while Novak Djokovic will face Gilles Simon.
Jonas Bjorkman announced his retirement at Wimbledon in July. Today he played his last match alongside his doubles partner Kevin Ullyett. Unfortunately they lost in the tiebreak and dashed hopes of a berth in the semifinals. Bjorkman is 36 years old. He spent the last seventeen of those years on the tour.
He reached the #1 ranking in doubles in July, 2001, and a career high ranking of #4 in singles in 1997. He competed in fifty-eight of the last sixty Grand Slams and won nine of those prestigious titles, three successive ones with Todd Woodbridge at Wimbledon between 2002-2004. He also had the honor of reaching the singles semifinals at Wimbledon in 2006, where he met Roger Federer who went on to win the men's championship. Overall, the Swede Bjorkman earned 6 singles titles and 54 doubles titles.
Bjorkman also helped Sweden win three Davis Cup titles: in 1994 against Russia, in 1997 against the USA, and in 1998 against Italy.
"I would probably say winning Davis Cup was something that was huge to be a part of," Jonas said, as reported by the ATP.
While on tour, Bjorkman missed his family most, which he found the most challenging part of his career. He looks forward to spending much more time with his two children and wife. He plans to coach and commentate for tennis in Sweden. "I'm really looking forward to the next step in my life."
The Tennis Server extends congratulations to Jonas Bjorkman and sincerely thanks him for all the years of dedication and great tennis he contributed to the tennis world. We also thank him for his funny impersonations of fellow tennis players' serves, especially John McEnroe's. It was spot on!