First things first. This was a great match. It was exactly what we hoped it would be. For proof, go watch the first set. Yes, Muzz won it 63, but it was so not a 63 set. Amazing and ridiculous shot-making and court coverage. Both players were playing well.
The shocker: Andy came out and actually hit. He wasn't puff balling and carving the ball. He was being offensive. He was cracking the ball, serving big, and coming to the net when he could. It was the perfect game plan against Rafa. Shoot out of the blocks and take it to him and force him to go bigger than he might have wanted. Threaten him with your hitting and court coverage so that he guns for the lines and misses. People will point to Muzz's big serving as being the difference, or Rafa's backhand, which wasn't on song. But it was the Murray game plan that won tonight. Gone was boring Muzz, who just sits at the back of the court and waits for mistakes. This was Muzzard 2.0. And it was beautiful.
On top of the game plan, it was Andy's focus that allowed him to withstand the Rafa charge. Rafa broke early in the first set, only to have Andy break him right back. In the second set, same thing. After the 10 minute fireworks break, Andy came out to serve and was broken. But he would come out in the next game and break right back. Once they got to the tiebreaker, Andy's big serve and the pressure on Rafa to come up with winners allowed Muzz to put it away pretty easily. I was cautiously happy. I mean, I'm a Rafa fan. I know never to give up on the guy.
Then, in the middle of Rafa's serve at 0-1, Rafa took an MTO to check out his knee. It seems that he tweaked it at some point during that game. He looked concerned. He would come back out and get broken, Andy served out his game, and Rafa pulled the ripchord.
I don't think it needs to be said that this is worrisome. Rafa claimed he was 100% coming in and he didn't show any signs of pain in his knees. Hopefully this is just an acute injury and has nothing to do with his tendinitis. But with the loss, Rafa will drop to #3.
But I feel very confident saying that injury aside, Muzz won this match. He absolutely took it to Rafa and outplayed him. As a Murray fan, it was vindication. The kid knows tennis, he came up with his game plan, and he executed it to perfection. For two sets, it was awesome. He'll get the chance to exact revenge on Marin, who bounced him at the USO. If he can do what he did tonight in the next two rounds, he's going to be very tough to beat.