ThrowbackTimes Indian Wells: Andy Murray spoils Roger Federer vs. Rafael Nadal clash

Starting the season ranked fourth behind Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray claimed titles in Doha and Rotterdam at the beginning of 2009, winning 20 of the first 21 matches and seeking the third title in Indian Wells. Andy won two Masters 1000 crowns in 2008 in Cincinnati and Shanghai, looking good to add the third to his tally in the desert in March 2009 following a 6-3, 4-6, 6-1 victory over Roger Federer in the semi-final, setting the title clash against Rafael Nadal. Andy and Roger played for the eighth time, and the Briton delivered the sixth triumph, scoring all four wins over Roger after falling short in the final of the US Open last September. The Swiss had more winners and much more unforced errors, losing ground in the deciding set to finish his journey in the semis. Andy tamed his shots nicely, landing a similar number of winners and unforced errors while drawing almost 30 forced mistakes from Roger, who couldn’t find his best tennis when it mattered the most.

Andy had the upper hand in the shortest exchanges and the mid-range ones, saving his best tennis for the decider to extend his domination over the Swiss. The first big moment came in the fourth game when Federer created three break chances, denied by Murray, who grabbed five straight points to bring the game home and level the score at 2-2 after a former champion’s backhand error. That game proved to be even more costly for the Swiss when he lost serve a couple of minutes later, allowing the Briton to open a 4-2 gap with a hold at love.

Andy Murray ousted Roger Federer to reach the final in Indian Wells 2009.

Another booming serve sent Andy 5-3 up, securing the opener with another break in the ninth game for 6-3 after half an hour. Roger made a better start in set number two, earning a break in the first game and confirming it with a volley winner that propelled him 2-0 in front. Murray broke back with a backhand crosscourt winner in the fourth game and regained the lead with an ace in the next one.

Roger held after a couple of deuces in game six, fired a forehand winner to clinch a break and move 4-3 ahead and landed a smash winner for another good hold that brought him closer to the finish line in this set. Serving at 5-4, Federer held at love thanks to a beautiful backhand winner to wrap up the set and bring a decider, with momentum on his side. Instead of that, he played a loose backhand in the fourth game to suffer a break and send Andy 3-1 up, spraying another mistake in the next game to fall further behind. Barely putting a foot wrong, Andy grabbed a break in game six thanks to Roger’s forehand error, with the Briton serving for the victory at 5-1. Facing two break points, Murray stayed calm to repel them both, moving over the top after many deuces to set the final clash against Rafael Nadal.