He’s done it! Andy Murray has made his first final since that historic Wimbledon 2013 final when he ended our wait for a British Wimbledon Champion. Since that amazing day he has had an off season, firstly having back surgery and trying to recover from that, losing his coach (Ivan Lendl), appointing a new coach and then making the QF of Australian Open, Wimbledon, US Open and the Semi finals of Roland Garros (his best performance for a while on the red dirt – we Brits don’t like red dirt!). Other than these excellent performances, he has failed to reach any final. He added 2 extra tournaments to his schedule before Shanghai, as he needs to get his ranking back up from 11, and having no points to defend from here on in, he is trying to do this and also qualify for the WTF in London.
Andy accepted a wild card into the inaugural Shenzhen Open tournament, after the bye he received in round 1 as second seed, he progressed without dropping a set to the Semi finals. All of his matches to this point had been in the evening, meaning that the conditions, especially the humidity, where not an issue. The semi final was held in the day time, 2nd on the schedule. At the time of taking to the court the humidity was 88 degrees, this showed as Andy struggled in the conditions, his serve was off (to be honest, it has been very inconsistent for a while), his forehand was misfiring and he was missing shots he usually gets without difficulty. The conditions also meant that the ball and court during the daytime were different to how they are during the evening, this may have had a bearing on the first set. His opponent was Juan Monaco, and Juan took the first set 6-2! Murray fans are used to “Murraycoasters” and they braced themselves for another!
In the second set, Andy did start to play better, he got off to a good start with a break of serve, however Monaco broke back and soon the set was level at 3-3. Then the change occurred, something clicked (or someone gave Andy a coffee or a Redbull!) his forehand was back, his first serve made an appearance (not as much as people would like) he was making his shots again. Levelling the match by taking the 2nd set 6-3, it was going the distance. The Brits held their breath, his fans watching, wondering, and hoping (plus worrying, praying, pacing) that he he had finally turned this match around. Their prayers were answered, as Murray showed he still had the will to win, he served up a bagel to Monaco in the last set, and his first serve was definitely improving in the last set. The humidity had dropped as had the temperature, this appeared to help Murray and he has made a final for the first time in 2014. Can he win the title in Shenzhen? This author hopes so.