Federer supreme as Murray challenge fizzles out

Given the chance to put another dent in Roger Federer’s armour on Tuesday, Andy Murray was swatted aside as their top-billing round robin clash at the ATP World Tour Finals.

By (Reuters)

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Published: Wed 24 Nov 2010, 10:27 AM

Last updated: Mon 6 Apr 2015, 9:11 AM

Federer often struggles against the mercurial Scot, except when it really matters, most notably in their two grand slam finals, but he was supreme at the soaring O2 Arena, dropping just eight points on serve in a 6-4 6-2 drubbing.

In bagging a second easy win, the 29-year-old former world number one is favourite to reach the semi-finals although he will still need to beat Robin Soderling on Thursday make 100 percent sure and avoid the need of a calculator.

Swede Soderling recovered from a Sunday drubbing by Murray to beat Spanish terrier David Ferrer 7-5 7-5, meaning the top two spots in Group B will be decided on Thursday.

“You can go a bit crazy (thinking) about it, no doubt about that,” Federer, who scraped into last year’s semi-finals via some head-spinning arithmetic, told reporters.

Should he repeat the form he showed on Tuesday, Federer, who is eyeing a record-equalling fifth title at the season-ending showdown, should keep things under his control.

“I think if you play many times against each other, you can’t go the distance every single time,” he told reporters after improving his career record against home favourite Murray to six wins in 14 meetings.

“Maybe he’ll just need a feel good talk or just a nice dinner. That should do the trick,” Federer added when asked how he felt Murray would respond to a chastening 76-minute loss in front of 17,000 fans. “It’s pretty straightforward. I think he’s going to come back and play a real good match next.”

Maybe a chat with former Argentine soccer great Diego Maradona, again a spectator at the O2, would enliven the Scot who produced a performance barely recognisable from the one which humbled Federer in last month’s Shanghai Masters final.

Federer was clearly expecting a much harder shift.

“I’m surprised I was able to beat Andy here because playing him in London should be really tough,” Federer said. I was just surprised the amount of errors he was making early on.”

Silky Power

After the rock-show lighting and boxing-like introductions as the players warmed up, the stage was set for a classic but like most of the matches so far the fireworks failed to ignite.

No fault can be attached to Federer for that as he executed everything with precision, timing and effortless, silky power. Murray on the other hand simply unravelled.

The world number five was lucky to escape from his opening service game but he was broken to love two games later — prompting a change of shirt colour from white to black.

Murray had a glimmer of a chance at 0-30 when Federer served at 5-4, but that chink of light was snuffed out as the Swiss reeled off three points with a nonchalant smash, a scorching forehand winner and crunching volley before Murray shanked a forehand wide on set point.

Federer then blazed 4-0 ahead in the second set, demonstrating just why he has 16 grand slam titles and Murray is still chasing his first. He was unstoppable.

Luckily for Murray the round robin format of the event featuring the world’s top eight men means he can still reach the semi-finals but he will have to dust himself down quickly before taking on winless Ferrer in his final group match.

“I got off to a bad start in both sets, which doesn’t help,” a glum Murray told reporters just minutes after walking off court. “I returned poorly, served poorly. Against him, that’s not going to win you the match.”

In the day’s doubles action world number one duo Mike and Bob Bryan were beaten in a cliffhanger by Poles Mariusz Fyrstenberg and Marcin Matkowski while Wimbledon champions Juergen Melzer and Philipp Petzschner beat Leander Paes and Lukas Dlouhy.

Wold number one Rafael Nadal is back in action on Wednesday against Novak Djokovic after Andy Roddick takes on Wimbledon runner-up Tomas Berdych.

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