He was on the cusp of becoming something great exactly a month ago at Wimbledon. But today Murray stormed back onto the scene winning a gold and a silver medal: a gold earlier today against his rival Roger Federer and a silver in the mixed doubles final with partner Laura Robson.
Things looked bright for the British duo in the first set as they cruised to a 6-2 set victory. But after that, things got a lot more bumpy and a lot more unlike Murray’s gold medal win just hours before.
Robson was able to win her serve and close the gap to 5-3 in the second set, and it was up to Mirnyi to win the second set on his serve. Unlike his first medal win of the day against rival Federer, the mixed doubles match was more hotly contested with Max Mirnyi and women’s world No. 1 Victoria Azarenka from Belarus stayed pretty close through the second set, trying to force a break set after Murray and Robson took the first set. Mirnyi and Azanrenka went up 5-2 in the second set behind dominating serves and forehands to keep the British duo on their heels.
Robson was able to win her serve to make the set 5-3 but Mirnyi dominated his serve to win the second set 6-3.
In the tie-breaking set, Robson and Murray opened with a double fault and the first three points of the match tie-break went to Belarus. Murray stormed abck to grab a point for Great Britain and a backhand into the net by Mirnyi on the next serve made it 3-2. At this point, the crowd, many of which were still there from Murray’s gold medal win over Federer mere hours before, began getting behind the British duo, chanting “Team GB! Team GB!” in between serves.
The British duo fed off this, storming back from down 0-3 to tie the tie-break set three-all before s misfire by Robson gave the lead back to Belarus. Robson then double faulted again to give Mirnyi and Azarenka a 5-3 cushion.
But every time there was doubt about the match, the crowd remembered who Robson’s partner was in Andy Murray. After bailing Robson out on 5-3, Murray scored two straight points to tie the set at five-all. The more and more Robson and Murray fought back in the tie-break set, and the more Murray bailed out his partner to tie the set, the more the pro-British crowd got behind the two.
The tie-break was the very definition of a back and forth set with Murray and Robson playing from behind the whole time, constantly trying to make up ground. Mirnyi and Azarenka attacked the 18-year old Robson and eventually took an 8-6 lead, at which point Andy Murray slammed his racket into the ground after failing to return a volley.
But when Azarenka and Mirnyi were at match point twice, both Murray and Robson were able to hold and gain ground to 9-8. But on the next serve, Mirnyi and Azarenka were able to get match point to win gold. It is a nice finish to Max Mirnyi’s career, as he is yet another Olympian to finish his career with a gold medal. The gold was also Azarenka’s second medal of the Olympics, as she had won the bronze earlier.
Even though he wasn’t able to win a second gold, Andy Murray is clearly stealing the day’s spotlight in London, dominating at Wimbledon even in a second place finish.