Andy Murray followed one of the greatest days in British Olympic history with one of the best performances British tennis has ever seen as he crushed Roger Federer to win London 2012 gold.
Murray exacted the sweetest revenge possible for his tear-jerking Wimbledon final loss by inflicting Federer’s heaviest ever defeat at the All England Club and winning his country’s first men’s singles title since 1908.
The 6-2 6-1 6-4 scoreline was scarcely believable against the man who stopped him becoming the country’s first male Wimbledon champion for 76 years just 28 days earlier and who was desperate to enhance his claim to be the greatest player of all time by clinching a career golden slam.
Murray had little time to celebrate the win as he prepared to go for double gold in the mixed doubles.
Murray got off to the perfect start today as he won the first set of the Olympic men’s singles final against Roger Federer.
Twenty-eight days after his heartbreaking Wimbledon defeat to the world number one, Murray once again struck first blood on Centre Court, breaking Federer twice to take the opener 6-2.
Already Great Britain’s first Wimbledon men’s singles finalist since 1938 and first at the Olympics since 1912, Murray was bidding to become their first gold medallist in the event since 1908.
That was also the last time Britain claimed six golds in a single day, as they did yesterday, but 17-time grand slam winner Federer was in no mood to give up what could be his final chance to cap his own career with an Olympic singles title.
Murray’s hopes looked to have been boosted when the Centre Court roof, which had been closed for this afternoon’s women’s doubles final, was opened before the match, with Federer having beaten him indoors in the Wimbledon final.
After battling to save two break points on his own serve in the opening game, Murray had a sniff on Federer’s three games later but the Swiss simply thumped down an ace.
Federer initially showed no sign of fatigue from Friday’s record-breaking semi-final marathon against Juan Martin Del Potro but errors began to creep into his game and they told in game six.
Murray won a thrilling rally on his way to another two break points, prompting the first chants of “Andy, Andy, Andy”, and Federer netted a backhand on the second to gift him the break.
Two booming aces then got Murray out of a sticky patch to consolidate before two brilliant backhands saw him break Federer again in style to take the set.
Federer's Wimbledon final fightback began in the second set but the one-way traffic continued today when Murray won a sixth game in a row after winning another incredible rally.
A net cord had helped the Scot to triple-break point, the force seemingly with him today, but his customary lapse in concentration arrived in a nailbiting next game which saw him survive six break points.
He would have faced a seventh but for a jaw-dropping running backhand that helped him complete a crucial hold, crucial because Federer amazingly blew a 40-15 lead in the next, a double-fault eventually handing Murray the double break.
And it was soon nine games in a row to the Scot, the Centre Court crowd more in shock than anything at what they were witnessing.
Federer finally stopped the rot in game seven and fashioned another break point as Murray served for the set but mistakes cost him again as his opponent clinched it 6-1 to move to within one set of the greatest triumph of his career.