Andy Murray drubs Roger Federer for gold at Olympics

By Steven Wine

Associated Press

Published: Sunday, Aug. 5 2012 11:50 a.m. MDT

Switzerland's Roger Federer returns a shot to Britain's Andy Murray during the men's singles gold medal match at the All England Lawn Tennis Club at Wimbledon, in London, at the 2012 Summer Olympics, Sunday, Aug. 5, 2012.

Victor R. Caivano, Associated Press

WIMBLEDON, England — Andy Murray stood with the Union Jack draped over his shoulders, an Olympic gold medal around his neck, flanked by the man he had just beaten, Roger Federer, and basking in the roar of the Centre Court crowd.

No wonder the often dour Scotsman was grinning.

Murray won one for the home team Sunday, beating Federer 6-2, 6-1, 6-4 in the tennis final at Wimbledon.

The victory marked a career breakthrough for Murray. He has lost all four of his Grand Slam finals, three against Federer, including Wimbledon a month ago.

"I've had a lot of tough losses in my career," he said. "This is the best way to come back from the Wimbledon final. I'll never forget it."

For Federer, the drubbing marked another Olympic disappointment. Playing in the games for the fourth time, he sought a victory to complete a career Golden Slam but settled for silver — his first singles medal.

"Don't feel too bad for me," Federer said. "I felt like I won my silver, I didn't lose it. So I feel really happy."

Murray swept nine consecutive games to take control, breaking Federer's serve four times in a row, his inspired play a reflection of raucous crowd support. He erased all nine break points he faced.

"He never looked back," Federer said. "His credit for getting in the lead and using the crowd to come through. He did an unbelievable job."

The match capped the most memorable Olympics for tennis since it returned to the games in 1988 after a 64-year absence. The event transformed staid Wimbledon into a more festive place.

Murray became the first British man to win the gold in singles since Josiah Ritchie in 1908. Those games took place at Wimbledon, too.

In the day's first match on Centre Court, women's singles champion Serena Williams teamed with sister Venus to win their third career doubles gold medal. They defeated Andrea Hlavackova and Lucie Hradecka of the Czech Republic 6-4, 6-4 under the retractable roof.

Murray settled for a silver in mixed doubles with teammate Laura Robson. They lost to Victoria Azarenka and Max Mirnyi of Belarus, 2-6, 6-3, 1-0 (8).

Juan Martin del Potro of Argentina won the bronze in men's singles, beating Novak Djokovic of Serbia 7-5, 6-4. Maria Kirilenko and Nadia Petrova of Russia won the bronze in women's doubles.

The roof opened shortly before the men's final, and the beloved Federer — winner of seven Wimbledon titles — walked onto the sun-splashed grass to a standing ovation. Then Murray entered, and an ovation became a the roar.

At the far end of the All England Club, thousands of fans with grounds passes enjoyed a carnival atmosphere on the picnic hill known as Murray Mount while watching the match on a huge video screen.

Federer wore red and Murray blue in the most colorful tournament ever held at Wimbledon. Their tactics were also in sharp contrast.

Murray returned aggressively to repeatedly put Federer on the defensive when serving. Federer tried to come forward more than in any match this summer, but Murray answered with a succession of crisp passing shots for winners.

"Andy looked like he was never doubting himself," Federer said. "He had a clear plan."

The fans loved it, waving British flags of all sizes. "An-dy! An-dy" they chanted. They applauded when Federer won a point, but they boomed when Murray won one.

And the bounces seemed to go Murray's way. One of his service breaks came when he hit winners that clipped the net cord on successive points. But then the net, after all, was British.

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