Points won directly behind the serve:
42 % Murray – 46 of 108
20 % Nadal – 34 of 167

The US Open 2008 – a tournament that established the Big 4 for many years – it was the first time that at a major event, Federer, Djokovic, Nadal & Murray were gathered together in the semifinals. Federer beat Djokovic on Arthur Ashe Stadium on “Super Saturday”; 90 minutes since that match started, the officials decided to reschedule Murray-Nadal match onto Louis Armstrong Stadium due to bad weather (anticipated Tropical Storm Hanna). In the 2nd set Nadal saved break points in three different games, led 6:5* (30/15) & 5:4* in the tie-break – Murray hit a very high-kick second serve then to win the tie-break 7/5. In the 3rd set the Spaniard led *3:2 when the players had to leave the court because of rain. The resumption at 4 p.m. on Sunday took place on the main arena. Nadal held at 0:1 in the 4th set after 8 deuces (saved 7 break points in a 15-minute game) to lead 3:1* (30/0) – Murray came back strongly, and had a mini-match point leading 4:3. In the 10th game Nadal squandered a game point trying to level at 5 games apiece – the Scot [6] played three great points in a row to secure berth in his first Grand Slam final after 3 hours 30 minutes.
Looking backwards twelve years later, I think it’s been Murray’s best performance ever. Nadal was clearly the best player in the world at the time, having won 43 out of his 44 previous matches, including major titles obtained in Paris, London & Beijing (Olympics). Moreover he led 5-0 in their H2H series. Murray responded to it all with a mixture of power & creativity, especially his serve was working tremendously well. There’s info on the ATP website he fired 21 aces then, I count as aces also all serves touched by the receiver when the ball didn’t change its direction. With that assumption Murray hit even more – 24 aces… 12 in one set (!) which is something only the greatest serves can be proud of. He got 42% of points won directly behind the serve throughout the ‘best of 5’ match, it’s also something reserved only for the greatest servers…

Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply