LONDON – Andy Murray and Roger Federer last met on grass in 2012. In July of that year, Federer defeated Murray on Centre Court to win his seventh Wimbledon. A month later, Murray defeated Federer on Centre Court to win the gold in the 2012 London Summer Olympics.
Now they meet again at the All England Club because of victories enjoyed by both athletes on Thursday.
Even the weather could not distract the two men. Rain interrupted the matches two times. Centre Court, where Murray played, closed the roof during the second disruption.
Federer’s prophecy from his previous press conference came true. Frenchman Gilles Simon is a great returner and in the second set, he managed to break Federer for the first time since the first round of Halle last month. Federer went over 100 games without a break.
It did not matter because Federer recomposed himself to win the next two games, take the set, and avoid a tiebreak. However, he won the last game after an almost 30 minute break due to rain. The roof on No. 1 Court will not be ready until 2019.
Other than the close second set, Federer controlled the whole match. He did not win the majority of his games 40-love, but his serve and defense was much better than Simon. He broke Simon five times, hit 11 aces, and scored 80% of his first serve points. The way he plays it is hard to accept the reality that he is 33-years-old. He flies on the court and his excellent reflexes that allow him to charge the net like in his younger days.
“It’s  been good so far,” he told the press with a smile. “I felt like I played a very solid last year or so, especially on the grass I’ve done very well. I’m happy to keep it up here now. This is obviously now crunch time when you want to show if your game’s really up to par.”
Murray won his 150th Grand Slam match after he eliminated Vasek Pospisil in straight sets on Centre Court. The presence of HRH The Duke and HRH The Duchess of Cambridge and soccer star David Beckham did not rattle his nerves. His focus and concentration meant fewer unforced errors and perfect composure.
He protected his serve (faced only one break point), dominated his second serve, and broke Pospisil three times. However, there was a touch of controversy towards the end of the match. Pascal Maria, the chair ump, gave Pospisil two time violations at the worst time. Tennis writers expressed their doubt at the violation on Twitter:
Damn, Pascal Maria. At 4-all, 0-30, he give Pospisil another time violation. Loses a first serve. #Wimbledon
— Dawn Rhodes (@rhodes_dawn) July 8, 2015
Twice Vasek Pospisil has been given a time violation at a crucial and twice Murray has broken shortly after. #Wimbledon
— Ben Rothenberg (@BenRothenberg) July 8, 2015
I take my best Phoebe voice : "Coincidence ?" https://t.co/I8302vDlXE
— Carole Bouchard (@carole_bouchard) July 8, 2015
I cosign. https://t.co/2MZWTshZTc
— Dawn Rhodes (@rhodes_dawn) July 8, 2015
Pospisil lashed out at the ump after the match:
I think a lot of times these umpires, they seem to just want to be seen. I don’t know why they do it at a time like that. I went 30 seconds. How many times do you see the top guys go more than that and they don’t get any violation, especially when it’s important moments.
But then I go out there and I get a time violation. He said, Yeah, it was right on 30 seconds. I was right about to serve the ball. If he would have waited one second longer, I would have served.
I don’t know. I don’t agree with that time when he did it. Maybe the second one, yes, but not that, not at 5‑All, 30‑All. That was ridiculous, in my opinion.
Not that it matters, though. Murray’s second serve, ability to play the net, and cleaner play propelled him above the Canadian. He was more than happy to get those much needed points in the third set.
“I needed to [get those points] because he, at times, was serving really well, made it very difficult for me,” he expressed with a sigh of relief. “Then I just managed to, at a few key moments, come up with some good shots. I think it was maybe only the last game he had breakpoint on my serve. But the rest of the time he didn’t have loads of opportunities there.”
He continued: “But the third set was tricky, as well, because I had a bunch of breakpoints. When you don’t take them, obviously you start to think about that a little bit. But overall it was a good match.”
Murray and Federer play on Friday.