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Murray stuns Federer to win Olympic gold

ESPN staff
August 5, 2012 « London Olympics 2012 LIVE! | Chartbeat test »

Britain's Andy Murray claimed an historic Olympic gold medal after producing one of the best performances of his career to deny Roger Federer, but was forced to settle for silver in the mixed doubles with Laura Robson.

Murray showed no scars from his heartbreaking Wimbledon defeat 28 days ago - his fourth reverse in grand slam finals - turning in a stunning display to stun a slightly below-par Federer 6-2 6-1 6-4 in front of a raucous Centre Court crowd.

It was a complete performance from Murray and yet it was Federer who made the more assured start. A backhand into the net gifted Federer two break points in the opening game. Murray saved one as Federer failed to make a return before another Swiss error saw the other come and go. Having averted the danger, a driven backhand winner by Murray was followed by a mistake from his rival to give the Brit a morale-boosting service hold.

Federer, by contrast, showed little to suggest his marathon semi-final win over Juan Martin Del Potro had taken too much out of him as he opened with an ace and held to love.

Murray, with his nerves now in check, began to assert himself and was presented with his first chance to break when Federer went long with a forehand. An ace shut the door and the Swiss maestro closed out the game to level at 2-2.

The match quickly developed into a tense battle, both men giving the crowd lots to cheer about with some breathtaking shot-making. In the sixth game Murray carved another chance to break, although he was soon scratching his head as Federer saw off the danger. Unperturbed, Murray refused to yield, forcing another error from his opponent's racket to bring up another break point, and this time he took it after Federer's backhand was swallowed by the net.

As Murray continued to grow in confidence, uncharacteristic errors from Federer showed the 17-time grand slam winner was struggling to hit top form. A hold from Murray made it 5-2, leaving Federer needing to hold serve to keep the set alive. More wayward shots from the baseline opened the door for Murray and the world No. 4 walked straight through, thumping a backhand down the line to deliver the first blow.

Leading 1-0 in the second, a lucky net cord handed Murray three break points; he needed only one, taking his chance courtesy of another fortunate net cord.

The Brit then came under fierce examination in the third game. Federer hit Murray with everything he had but, 15 minutes later and having saved six break points, Murray took to his chair with a healthy 3-0.

That proved a massive fillip for the Brit, who proceeded to win the next two games to maintain his grip on the match. Federer finally snapped Murray's nine-game winning run, getting on the board to trail 1-5, but his joy was short-lived as Murray immediately responded, saving a break point to open up a two-set cushion.

Federer looked to have put a marker down with a confident hold at the start of the third but Murray continued to play with freedom and conjured up two break points in the fifth game. On the first he blasted a cross-court backhand that Federer had no answer for, moving 3-2 ahead and closer to a gold medal.

Another clean winner ensured Murray took a 4-2 lead having not dropped a point on his serve and, although Federer showed huge resolve to stay in touch, Murray was not to be denied, eventually sealing his place in history with an ace.

In the bronze-medal match, Juan Martin del Potro battled to a 7-5 6-4 triumph over Novak Djokovic in a rain-delayed match. The eighth seed showed tremendous powers of recovery following his four-and-a-half hour epic defeat to Federer on Friday, proving too strong for his Serbian foe on Court One.

Andy Murray and Laura Robson compete against Max Mirnyi and Victoria Azarenka © PA Photos
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Murray also leaves Wimbledon with a silver medal after he and Laura Robson were unable to pull off another scalp as they were beaten by top seeds Victoria Azarenka and Max Mirnyi in the mixed doubles final.

Just an hour after his singles victory, Murray was back on Centre Court, but despite winning the opening set, the British pair lost in a champions tiebreak 2-6 6-3 10-8.

Murray and Robson, who were handed a wildcard for the inaugural mixed doubles event, were the heavy underdogs in the final, but they were not intimidated by the multiple grand slam champions as they grabbed an early double break, racing to a 4-0 lead before wrapping up the opening set.

However, the Belarusian pair hit back, breaking for a 3-1 lead in the second set, and despite saving match points in the champions tiebreak, Murray and Robson were unable to stave off defeat.

Venus and Serena Williams successfully defended the Olympic doubles title they won in Beijing four years ago, recording a 6-4 6-4 win over Czech duo Andrea Hlavackova and Lucie Hradecka. The American pairing are the only players in Olympic tennis history to claim the title at three different Games - Sydney 2000, Beijing 2008 and London 2012. For Serena, who won the singles tournament with victory over Maria Sharapova, she becomes the third female tennis player to win two gold medals at the same Olympics after Venus in 2000 and Helen Wills Moody in 1924.

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