Posted in sport, tennis, Wimbledon 2017

The story of two tales- how the favourites Nadal and Murray were outclassed by these two…

Sam Querrey was the man last year to put a halt to defending champion Novak Djokovic’s remarkable 30 match Grand Slam winning-streak but little did we expect for him to repeat the trick this year… and neither did we expect Gilles Muller to stun Nadal in a near-to five hours thriller

It had been 17 years in the waiting for the spotlight to finally shine on Gilles Muller…and here he was in the Wimbledon Fourth Round holding two match points against one of the greatest of all-time Rafael Nadal. The match had started at 15:45 and after an epic 4 hour and 47 minute contest, Nadal overhit past the baseline to hand Muller the win of his career at the age of 34, though Muller had previously beaten the Spaniard in the 2005 Wimbledon when Nadal was 19 and Muller was 22

nadal vs muller 2005 throwback
Gilles Muller pictured in 2005 after beating Rafael Nadal (who was fresh from his first French Open title)

Nadal had fought back from two sets to love down to take the match into a fifth and deciding set as Muller seemed to drop the level of intensity. Predictably, most would have thought Nadal would have breezed through the fifth set and a thought of sympathy for a tired 34 year-old Muller but that was not how things turned out…

Muller was like a player in his 20s and so was Nadal as each player continuously fought hard for every point but things would have to get more tighter as we reached 4-4, with both players that close to the quarter-finals. Muller held serve to lead 5-4. Pressure Nadal. Perhaps one of the most dreaded situations in tennis…to serve to stay in the match. Pressure kept building point after point as Muller stealthily attacked the Nadal serve to claim a 0-30 lead. Two match points would eventually come for Muller but an ace and an unreturned serve would ultimately rescue Nadal as he ecstatically roared to the discomfort of Gilles Muller, who had just seen what takes a real champion to win a match.

nadal vs muller 1
Nadal is in ecstasy after saving two match points before going on to level the match at 5-5 in the fifth set

Still no collapse from Muller whilst Nadal was constantly enduring rickety service games but still managed to stay in this fourth round match. Exactly 54 minutes on from the first match point, Nadal had the task to save another one on his service. Was it time for trademark hard-working Nadal or would he slip to a shock defeat here? Match point saved yet again as frustration grew on Muller’s face. Muller would go on to win the match 15-13 in the fifth set but both players nevertheless received a standing ovation from the Court No.1 crowd but for the bitter disappointment of many, Nadal was out but this time in stunning fashion.

nadal vs muller 2
Gilles Muller stands in shock after the scoreboard finally comes to a freeze after a 4 hour 47 minutes battle with Rafael Nadal

It was by far the longest and most memorable match this year at Wimbledon so far…

Two days later, there was another shock on the cards as Sam Querrey repeated what he did to Djokovic last year as he crushed home favourite Andy Murray’s chances of winning his second successive title with a five set win as Murray seemed to be struggling in the final two sets with a disturbing hip injury. Murray seemed to be in charge of this quarter-final when he found himself a set and a break up but then two sloppy service games from the Scot gifted his American opponent the second set as Querrey fired a swinging backhand cross-court winner at set point to level matters. Murray then took a two sets to one lead as a solid tie-break put him in a commanding position in the semi-final. In the fourth set, Murray’s hip problem looked apparent as he succumbed to a 6-1 demolition as Querrey virtually ran away with the set to bring the quarter-final into a deciding set. There was lots of drama and intensity expected in the fifth set but no matter how hard Murray pushed with his hip injury, it was not enough on this occasion as Sam Querrey broke twice on his way to a deserved but sympathetic win over a hobbling Murray…

murray vs querrey 2
Sam Querrey celebrates his win with a loud yell

 

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