World No. 4 Andy Murray made it two wins out of two for Tennis Masters Cup Shanghai debutants on Monday, prevailing in a tight 6-4, 1-6, 6-1 encounter with Andy Roddick.
The British No. 1 has compiled a career-best season, highlighted by reaching his first Grand Slam final, winning his first ATP Masters Series shield and being one of only two players (Nadal – eight) to win five or more ATP titles.
The Scot produced a fine set of tennis in the opener against Roddick, breaking the mighty American’s serve in the fifth game with a forehand cross court passing shot to lead 3-2. He did not face a break point himself as he went on to close out the first set with a big serve that Roddick could not return.
Roddick worked tirelessly in the second set to find a way to turn the tables on his younger opponent, and reaped the rewards as he broke the Murray serve twice in quick succession to carve out a 5-0 lead. Murray held to love to avoid a bagel, but could not dent the Roddick serve as he leveled the match 6-1.
Murray was quick to gain a foothold in the deciding set, earning a 2-0 lead as he broke the Roddick serve in the second game and he took command of the match when he broke once more to extend his lead to 5-0. Serving at 5-1, a huge forehand into the corner earned the 21-year-old his first match point, and he converted as Roddick’s lob lacked height and the Dunblane native volleyed away for his first circuit finale victory.
Murray now extends his series lead to 5-2 over Roddick having also recorded victories over the Austin resident in 2006 San Jose, ’06 Wimbledon, ’07 San Jose and ’07 Miami, when Roddick retired in the first set.
"I hit the ball well for most of the match," said Murray. "Just didn't serve well in the second set. [I] had a chance to break him right at the start of the second [set]. If I'd done that, then maybe second set would have been a different story. I felt like I played well. Legs don't quite have the snap in them that they did a few months ago. But I'll try and do my best to recover for the next match."
Assessing his qualification chances, Murray said: "Well, the winner of my match with Simon is going to go through to the semis. I guess the chance of me qualifying has gone up pretty significantly after winning the match today. But in terms of winning it (the group) there's a good chance I might still have to win two more matches to do that."
The right-hander opened the season by winning the Doha title (d. Wawrinka) and bounced back from a disappointing first round exit at the Australian Open (l. to Tsonga) with the Marseille title (d. Ancic).
He really hit form though following his first Grand Slam quarterfinal at Wimbledon (l. to Nadal), winning at Masters Series Cincinnati (d. Djokovic), reaching his first major final at the US Open (l. to Federer) and winning back-to-back titles at Masters Series Madrid (d. Simon) and St. Petersburg (d. Golubev). He now has a 56-15 match record on the season.
The 26-year-old Roddick, who is searching for his 50th ATP win of the season, dropped to a 49-18 match record. The Nebraska native has titled three times at San Jose (d. Stepanek), Dubai (d. F. Lopez) and Beijing (d. Sela). He is playing at Tennis Masters Cup for the fifth time and has been a semifinalist on three occasions, including last year (l. to Ferrer).
"I feel like, you know, maybe it's a little odd to play a match where the momentum is established in the beginning of a set every time," said Roddick. "But he played well. There's no question that he's improved this year. There's no question that he's very confident right now. I mean, he could always play tennis. You know, he's always had his choice of many shots at any given time. I think he's just maybe a little bit more confident playing on some bigger stages. I think he's really established that this year."