WAS IT SOMETHING TOMAS SAID? ANGRY MURRAY HITS BACK N STYLE
MURRAY MAKES BERDYCH PAY FOR PERCEIVED DISRESPECT
Was it something Tomas said? Or his preoccupation with his balls? Whatever happened, the “bromance” between Tomas Berdych and Andy Murray is definitely off.
It will be Murray’s fourth Aussie Open final but his first Slam final since winning Wimbledon in 2013. As for the Czech, he won’t sleep easy, knowing his tough-guy tactics backfired dramatically.
Berdych squandered the chance to serve for the first set, and having been angered by the Scot’s passionate celebration, tried to stare his opponent out at the next change of ends. The Czech further distracted Murray by complaining at the compression of some of the tennis balls.
After he had failed to convert two break points at 5-5, Murray said: ‘How long a break do you think that was in the middle of the game?’
DON’T TALK TO ME – OR ELSE
That opening set went to a tie-break, won by Berdych after Murray wasted a set point. Murray promptly complained to the umpire: ‘He’s been talking to me as we passed.’ Berdych appeared to have suggested that Murray complained too much.
Big mistake. That tactic made Murray so angry that he humiliated Berdych 6-0 in the second. It was much the same story of dominance in the third, which Murray won 6-3. He had broken to go 4-2 ahead with two thumping winners, even though Berdych had been 40-0 ahead in the sixth game.
The fourth set saw Berdych offer more resistance and he had chances to break. But Murray showed greater mental strength to clinch the match 7-5.
Murray said later: ‘I probably can’t repeat what I said after the first set. I was disappointed to lose that one. I was very aggressive at the start of the second. I was getting more comfortable and making him do most of the running. I knew when I was dictating the points I was winning.
”There was extra tension, much was made about my ex-coach Dani Vallverdu working with him [Berdych] but Dani and I have been friends since we were fifteen and there is more to life than just sport.
‘People criticised me working with Amelie Mauresmo but I think we’ve shown this week that women can good coaches as well.’
CAN SHARAPOVA FINALLY BEAT SERENA?
Maria Sharapova will have to overcome a ten-year jinx against her nemesis Serena Williams if she is going to win the Australian Open.
Sharapova defeated fellow Russian Ekaterina Makarova 6-3, 6-2. Her confidence is high, though she is still sensitive about Serena. ‘I think I should be pretty confident going into the final of a Slam no matter who I’m facing and whether I’ve had a terrible record, to say the least, against someone.
Serena found it harder against Madison Kets. She was 0-3 down in the first set but stormed back to take a first-set tie-break 7-5. The second set sounded more straightforward but Williams needed nine match points to close out the match 6-2.
Now all eyes are on Saturday’s dream final. Sharapova’s record against Serena Williams, by her own admission, leaves much to be desired. She has lost the last fifteen clashes with the American, not won since 2004 and their overall head-to-head is 16-2 in Williams’ favour.
History is telling Sharapova to do something different – and she is listening. Maria says she will refuse to be sucked into a power struggle because in the past it has caused her to try too hard to match the muscular Serena.
Sharpova explained: ‘I think her power and aggressiveness, I think that’s always made me a little bit too aggressive, maybe going for a little bit more than I had to. She’s great at making players hit that shot you don’t necessarily have to go for.’
Serena, meanwhile, is more laid back about the prospect of giving Sharapova another thrashing. ‘My theory now is just to relax and play the next match as best I can.’
Williams is said to be suffering from a cold and a cough but any ailment doesn’t seem to have troubled her unduly so far.
And she seems to take a particular pleasure in taking Sharapova apart.
In the past, Serena has accused Maria’s boyfriend, Grigor Dimitrov, of having a ‘black heart.’ Williams, on hearing of their relationship,said: ‘But hey, if she wants to be with a guy with a black heart, go for it.’ She did – and they have been happy together.
Will Sharapova be happy come Saturday night? The record-book suggests otherwise.
1/ Don’t talk to Andy on court. It makes him mad. (It’s OK for to Andy to talk to himself though. And swear. A lot.)
2/ If you stop playing mid-game to inspect your balls, it isn’t always going to go down well with the other person involved. They might even be offended.
3/ If a record is terrible and it has been terrible for ten years…change the record.