ATP World Tour Finals: Federer dismantles Murray
Roger Federer produced a majestic performance to sweep aside a below par Andy Murray 6-4 6-2 and all but confirm his place in the semi-finals of the ATP World Tour Finals in London.
Fans packed into the arena for the most anticipated match of the tournament so far. Both players had comprehensively won their opening group matches and Federer was looking to avenge a heavy defeat by Murray in Shanghai in October.
Federer, who defeated Murray last year at The O2, managed to outclass the 23-year-old Scot from the outset this year. “I knew the difficulty of playing Andy,” Federer afterwards. “I had my hands full today so I’m surprised how clean the score was.
He added: “I’m happy I’m playing so well, obviously he didn’t have his best match. I played tough and solid from start to finish. That seemed to be enough today.”
The Swiss master suggested Murray’s form could have been a result of the hype surrounding this particular clash. “Sometimes it’s also hard to play a perfect match against each other when there’s such a huge excitement around it I think.
“I’ve struggled with it in the past and maybe that’s what happened with Andy today.”
Murray’s afternoon got off to a terrible start when he was broken at the first opportunity after he missed nine of his 10 first serves. Federer then broke the British number one to love in game three and cantered to the opening set.
The Scot failed to capitalise on a 0-30 opportunity in game nine when Federer found the lines with his blistering groundstrokes.
And the second set proved just as miserable for Murray. The 28-year-old 16-time grand slam champion broke the Scot in game one and held to love in the next. Federer’s serve was clinical throughout, dropping just eight points on serve against one of the top returners in the game.
He rushed Murray into errors, regularly approaching the net, and succeeding on 14 out of his 17 net points.
Murray was simply unable to cope with Federer’s aggressive, accurate and clinical play and the world number two wrapped up a superb victory within 75 minutes.
“I got off to a bad start in both sets,” said Murray, who only managed 32 per cent of first serves. “I returned poorly, served poorly. Against him, that’s not going to win you the match.”
The Scot, who failed to reproduce the clinical form that had helped him beat Soderling on Sunday, fired 26 unforced errors. “I didn’t feel tight, and I just tried to play aggressive.
“You’re not going to hit winners every time you go on the court. You’re not gojng to play your best match every time. You’re going to make a few more mistakes sometimes but last time it worked well.”
And the world number five admitted he struggled to deal with his frustrations. “That’s something that I’m trying to work on, to not let my emotions control how I’m playing.”
Continuing his inconsistent 2010, Murray suggested: “It’s the serving and returning that needs to improve a lot before the next match.”
In the evening session, fourth seed Robin Soderling overcame Spain’s David Ferrer 7-5 7-5 to keep his chances of reaching the semi-finals alive.
The result means that all four players in Group B could still qualify for the next stage of the season-ending tournament.