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Federer Beats Murray For 16th Grand Slam Crown

PTI 31 Jan 2010, 23:06:13 IST
PTI

Swiss great Roger Federer won his fourth Australian Open and 16th Grand Slam title to deny Andy Murray's quest for British tennis history on Sunday . Federer's remarkable level of consistency continued when he mastered the Scottish fifth seed in straight sets, 6-3, 6-4, 7-6 (13/11) in two hours 41 minutes on Rod Laver Arena. 

The world number one clinched victory in a gripping tie-breaker, 13 points to 11, when Murray frittered five set points and the Swiss claimed it on his third match point. 

"I'm over the moon winning this title again," he said. "I played some of the best tennis in my life again over the last two weeks. It's very special to win my first Grand Slam as a father." He praised Murray for putting up such a good fight. 

"Andy, you played an incredible tournament. You are too good a player not to win a Grand Slam, so don't worry about it." It was the Scot's second Grand Slam loss to Federer following his defeat to the him in the 2008 US Open final and continued Britain's frustrating chase for a first male Grand Slam winner since Fred Perry last won 74 years ago. 

"I had great support back home, I'm sorry I couldn't do it for you tonight," Murray said as his voice cracked with emotion and he choked back tears. "I can cry like Roger, it's just a shame that I can't play like him," he joked. "He was a lot better than me tonight. But I've loved every minute of it and I hope to sometime come back and win." 

It is now 279 Grand Slam tournaments since Perry beat American Donald Budge in the 1936 US Open final. Federer has now won 16 Grand Slams in the span of 27 majors and has lost only six finals in that time. He became the fifth man in history to win four Australian Open titles with the last man to do so American Andre Agassi in 2003. 

A shaky Murray was broken in his opening service with Federer hitting a forehand winner, but the Scot broke back straight away with a forehand on double break point. 

Federer fought off three break points in the fifth game as Murray got into more of a rhythm, but the Swiss top seed broke again when it counted in the eighth and served out for the set in 43 minutes. Murray came more under attack in the second set as Federer turned up the heat and broke the Scot in the third game when he netted a forehand. 

Murray fought off break points in his next two service games as Federer dictated more of the play and the world number one cruised to three set points and won it on his second point with a forehand. The young Scot threw down the challenge, breaking Federer in the sixth game but was broken back while serving for the third set. 

The set went into a dramatic 24-point tie-breaker with Murray having five chances to take the match into a fourth set and stay alive, and Federer having three match points. In the end, the cool Swiss prevailed under incredible tension to take the championship when Murray, who winced from a hip injury, netted a forehand.

"I know this is an incredible trip I'm on. We'll see where it ends. I hope not anytime soon," said Federer, who has won all his slams in the span of 27 majors and has lost only six finals in that time. 

"That's something I've had to work extremely hard at. Now I feel like obviously I'm being pushed a great deal by the new generation coming up. "They've made me a better player, because I think this has been one of my finest performances, in a long time, or maybe forever." 

Federer's victory made him the fifth man in history to win four Australian Open titles with the last man to do so American Andre Agassi in 2003. "I haven't put a number on how many Grand Slams I want to try to win.  Whatever happens happens," he said. 

"I really want to try to enjoy my end to my career, because I've reached already so many goals I thought were never possible." Murray's voice cracked with emotion and he choked back tears at the trophy presentation.

"I had great support back home, I'm sorry I couldn't do it for you tonight," he said. "I can cry like Roger, it's just a shame that I can't play like him," he joked. "He was a lot better than me tonight." 

It is now 279 Grand Slam tournaments since the last British men's victory when Perry beat American Donald Budge in the 1936 US Open final. "I don't feel great," Murray added. "Obviously, I worked really hard to get to this stage. I wanted to win the tournament. 

"I think it was more the way the end of the match finished. It was a pretty emotional end to the match.  "I think his level is a lot more consistent in the slams." (AFP)