A dejected and flat looking Andy Murray walked out onto Arthur Ashe stadium this afternoon. His opponent was a tall Croatian, no not Dr. Ivo, but Marin Cilic.
As the first set began, Murray looked like he was in complete control. Dictating points, forcing his opponent to all ends of the court. When Murray was under pressure he would calmly get the ball back into play and wait for his opportunity to strike. All was well for Murray until it was 5-4, first set, break point to Murray.
At this crucial stage, Marin Cilic upped his game and saved the break point. He went on to hold. Now Murray serving at 5 all, before Murray knew it is was break points for Cilic, Murray made a couple of bad backhand errors that game to give Cilic 2 break points. Another error came, this time on the forehand. The shot sailed wide and Cilic was serving for a one set lead. Cilic held without too many problems, first set to Cilic 7-5.
I noticed something in latter stages of the first set. Murray seemed to have hurt his left wrist. Maybe he jammed something, pulled or strained a muscle. No one know what happened, just that Murray was massaging his left wrist.
The second set began shortly. Everyone expected that Murray would come out all guns blazing. But it was not to be. Andy played a very loose and flaky first game, he was broken. About 5 minutes latter Marin Cilic was up a double break and leading 4-0. Cilic was playing unbelievable tennis. Winners off both wings, playing aggressively, but within himself, making Murray look slow on court. How many times has someone make Murray look slow? Not many. Before Murray could respond to the flurry of winners from Cilic, he was already down two sets to love. 7-5 and 6-2.
As the third set got underway ESPN had a poll out. The question: Will Andy Murray come back down from one set down? At the beginning of the second set the percentage that said yes was overwhelming. Now down two sets, it was almost 50/50. (Yes: 55% No: 45%)
Like the second set, Murray was broken right from the get go. Murray was frustrated. It wasn't looking good for the world #2. Murray had 3 chances to break right back the next game, but Cilic saved one with an big ace down the T, the other two Murray threw away from errors. Cilic held. A couple of love service games from Murray seemed to rejuvenate to crowd a bit. Then a 4-2, with Murray serving, it all came apart.
A few careless errors by Murray had him in danger of going down a double break again. He saved one break point, but couldn't save the other. Cilic was serving for the match. A few monstrous first serves and Cilic arrived at match point. An nonreturnable serve ended the misery for Murray. Final score 7-5, 6-2, 6-2.
Cilic deserved the win. He was by far the better player today. Murray was looking like the Murray of old. Mopey Murray. There was no positive attitude from Murray, no C'mons, no racquet's punching and no screaming at his box. Murray looked lost out there, bewildered almost.Murray had only 13 winners to 29 unforced errors. He was 0/7 on break point opportunities, only won 65% of frist serve point and 52% on the second.
One has to wonder now, does Murray deserve his #2 rank after such a dismal performance.
Andy Murray has a lot to think about these coming weeks. The Australian open is a long ways away.
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