Rob Soria is the Edmonton Oilers' correspondent for OurHometown.ca. Rob was born and raised in Edmonton and is the author of the Edmonton Oilers blog - OilDrop.ca. He has been a dedicated follower of the game and its history for years but his focus remains on his hometown Edmonton Oilers. If you have questions or wish to contact Rob, you can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org
2012 Olympics: Tennis - Federer and Murray set to renew acquaintances on Centre Court
By Rob Soria
After two memorable semi-finals on Friday, the host nation were handed the Gold Medal Tennis Final they were all hoping to see at London 2012. Switzerland's Roger Federer against Great Britain's Andy Murray in a re-match of last month's Wimbledon Final.
Edmonton - August 4, 2012 - As great as the 2012 London Games have been through the first eight days competition, nothing has come close to the level of excellence that has been on display at Centre Court. After two memorable semi-finals on Friday, the host nation were handed the Gold Medal Final they were all hoping for. Switzerland's Roger Federer against Great Britain's Andy Murray in a re-match of the 2012 Wimbledon Final, that took place exactly one month earlier.
Considering these Games had already produced the longest tennis match in Olympic history between Jo-Wilried Tsonga and Canadian Milos Raonic, during second round action, it seemed highly unlikely that anything would come close to the drama produced during the final set of their epic battle. However, Federer and Argentina's Juan Martin del Potro managed to do exactly that, in what was arguably one of the best matches of 2012 season.
They split the opening two sets, with Federer taking the second in a tie-breaker, setting the stage for an absolutely brilliant third set. While it fell seventeen minutes short of the 25-23 marathon that Tsonga and Raonic treated tennis fans to only days earlier, this was at a whole different level.
After playing two hours of high quality tennis, these two ramped it up in set number three. There was no sign of the timidness that was apparent during certain points of the Tsonga/Raonic match. Both Roger and Juan Martin were going for it...and on every point. They gave it all they had and in the end, Federer would prevail 3-6, 7-6, 19-17 in a match that took nearly four and half hours to play, breaking the mark set only days earlier.
Murray had a much easier time, needing only two hours to beat Novak Djokovic 7-5, 7-5. While the second semi-final may have been missing the drama of Federer/del Potro, one could argue the quality of tennis was even higher. During his magical run through the tennis world in 2011, this was the type of match that Djokovic would have found a way to win. Unfortunately for the talented Serb, it is no longer 2011 and despite still playing at a ridiculously high level, the law of averages have started to catch up to him.
It appears as though, the Brit/Scot has finally come into his own and is starting to believe he belongs on the same court as the other top players in the world. In fact, before his memorable performance last year, Djokovic was in the exact same boat. To Murray's credit, he and coach Ivan Lendl have used last month's disappointing loss as a motivating tool, instead of allowing it to bring the fan favourite down. Andy matched the former number one player in the world stroke for stroke and looked confident throughout. Something that has always been missing from the third seed's repertoire.
After what has been an outstanding week tennis, Great Britain will get a second chance, in the last month no less, to cheer on one of their own in a championship setting on Centre Court. After waiting seventy-four long years to even have the opportunity, Murray has ended the drought in a big way.
Who could ask for anything more? Will Andy Murray finally get the monkey off his back and win a "big final"? Or will "The Maestro" add the only piece of tennis hardware that is missing from his collection? Regardless of the outcome of Sunday's Gold Medal Final, the 2012 Olympics and the game of tennis, will be the big winners.
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