Australian Open 2013: Breaking Down Roger Federer vs. Andy Murray Semifinal

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistJanuary 24, 2013

LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 08:  Roger Federer of Switzerland (R) shakes hands with  Andy Murray of Great Britain after defeating him during their Gentlemen's Singles final match on day thirteen of the Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Championships at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club on July 8, 2012 in London, England.  (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)
Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

When the draws were announced for the 2013 Australian Open, the first thing many noticed was that Andy Murray and Roger Federer were on the same side of the bracket. With the top seeds advancing, fans will now be treated to the highly anticipated semifinal.

This matchup will feature one of the best tennis players of all-time against one of the hottest in the world.

Federer has won 17 career Grand Slam tournaments compared to Murray's one. However, the win was at the 2012 U.S. Open, which followed a gold medal at the Summer Olympics. It seems like the British star is just hitting his stride.

Murray also has been impressive in head-to-head matchups against the Swiss veteran, winning 10 of 19 career matches.

On the other hand, Federer has much more experience winning at this level and will not be fazed by the younger player.

This should be a great showdown with either competitor capable of winning. Here is a breakdown of what each person needs to do to get the victory.


Roger Federer


In what was a tough run throughout the tournament, Federer performed very well in the opening rounds. After two easy opening-round wins, he was challenged only slightly by up-and-coming players Bernard Tomic and Milos Raonic. 

However, that is when things went poorly. He needed five sets to defeat Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the quarterfinals in a match that lasted over three-and-a-half hours.

Therefore, the first thing that the No. 2 seed must worry about is conditioning. He is still in great shape, but at the age of 31 it is difficult to recover quickly from a long match.

This might cause him to be more aggressive at the net to finish off points quicker. He certainly doesn't want sets to last more than around 45 minutes. 


Efficient Play

The biggest thing Federer must do in the semifinals is clean up his mistakes. Against Tsonga, he finished with 47 unforced errors, compared to only 12 total in Round 4.

In addition, he only finished with six aces and three double faults. Serving is very rarely a problem for Federer, but he wont be able to beat Murray if he doesn't improve in this area.

Throughout his career, Murray has been excellent at returning serves, especially on second attempts. Federer must hit the ball away from his opponent and try to beat him with quick aces.

The easiest way to win is to utilize your best strength, and that is what Federer must do with his serves.


Andy Murray

Win First Serves

In order to pull off the upset in this match, Murray will have to follow the gameplan that Tsonga laid out in the previous round.

The No. 7 seed was great on the serve and ended up having 20 aces against Federer with only one double fault. He also got 67 percent of his first serves in play.

While Tsonga might be better at serving, Murray can still bring the heat when he needs to. So far in the Australian Open he has 50 aces in only 15 sets. Overall, he has been completely dominant on his first serve.

Federer does not have many weaknesses, but this is one of them. Murray has to win as many first serves as possible and not allow his opponent to win return games.


Get Early Momentum

In the matches that Murray was able to defeat the veteran, he got out to a good start. Four out of the last five times he won the first set against Federer he went on to win the match.

The early success usually gives him confidence that he can compete at this level and his play improves dramatically.

However, there are times when it seems like the British player cannot do anything right and everything starts to fall apart. 

Murray needs to focus early and get a quick lead. This will put Federer in a hole that he might not be able to get out of.



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