12/5/12 3:22 PM | Ricky Dimon
Tennistalk's countdown of 2012's Top 10 matches continues with numbers five through seven. They include two memorable performances at Wimbledon and a breakthrough of sorts for Andy Murray.
7. Andy Murray d. Roger Federer 6-2, 6-1, 6-4 - Olympics final
One month after suffering another heartbreaking loss in Grand Slam final, this time to Federer at Wimbledon, Murray earned another shot at the 17-time slam champion on the very same All-England Club Center Court. Although his first major title was not at stake, the pressure on Murray to deliver with a gold medal in front of a British crowd was immense. And the opportunity was as wide open as the Center Court roof (unlike at Wimbledon). Given the circumstances, the straight-set beatdown Murray issued to Federer was--at the time--without question the best performance of his career.
"I played a really good match," Murray said in understated fashion. "This was a lot of fun. It is a lot better winning a final than losing one. I've had a lot of tough losses in my career, but this is the best way to come back from the Wimbledon final. This is No.1 for me; the biggest win of my life. It is a sweet feeling; incredible. I'll never forget it."
6. Roger Federer d. Andy Murray 4-6, 7-5, 6-3, 6-4 - Wimbledon final
Tantalizingly close to becoming the first British champion since 1936, Murray came out on fire--taking the first set and seizing break points in two different games that would have given him a lead in the second. But Federer raised his level to match that of his opponent and went into vintage Federer mode when the roof closed early in set three. Just how emotional was this Grand Slam final? Well, Murray showing emotion during an interview happens about as frequently as Ivan Lendl cracking a smile during a tennis match. Yet when Murray tried to give his runner-up speech, he had to cut it short due to being choked up with tears.
"I really do believe deep down in me he will win Grand Slams; not just one," Federer said of Murray. "I really do believe and hope for him that he's going to win one soon.... There was so much on the line, so I didn't try to think of the world No. 1 ranking or the seventh or the 17th (slam titles). I think that's going to take much longer to sort of understand, what I was able to achieve today. I played terrific."
5. Roger Federer d. Novak Djokovic 6-3, 3-6, 6-4, 6-3 - Wimbledon semifinals
When you're facing Roger Federer at Wimbledon, you have to be amazing just to have a chance. When you're facing him with the roof closed...well, you have to be something else altogether. Djokovic was good, but good was nowhere near good enough on this day. His 28 winners and 21 winners paled in comparison to Federer's other-worldly 31 winners and 10 mistakes. The Swiss also fired 12 aces without double-faulting a single time. With momentum in hand after taking a crucial third set, Federer recorded nine winners to just one error in a flawless, match-clinching fourth.
"He was the better player," Djokovic admitted. "He played well, no question about it. In the important moments he was aggressive, hitting from both sides. Obviously, that's what you expect when you play against Roger at the final four of a Grand Slam. I knew that.... I lost to a great champion, somebody that has the most Grand Slams in the history of the sport."
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Great Britain, United Kingdom