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Andy Murray drawn against Roger Federer at Masters Cup in Shanghai

Usually, you can laugh at what's inside a fortune cookie, but it was a bit more important than that for Andy Murray when he appeared at the Masters Cup draw ceremony.

 
Fortune cookie draws Andy Murray in Roger Federer's Red Group at Masters Cup in Shanghai
Tough draw: Andy Murray will be confident of qualifying from the Red Group Photo: Getty

Fortune cookies were randomly selected from a box and then cracked open to reveal the names of tennis players and so determine who would face who in the round-robin stage of the Masters Cup, with the Briton put in Roger Federer's Red Group.

The group is completed by Andy Roddick, of the United States, and Gilles Simon, the Frenchman who finished ninth in the qualification list for the eight-man tournament, but who was bumped up into the competition after Rafael Nadal withdrew because of fatigue and a sore knee.

Federer, the top seed after Nadal's withdrawal, will be attempting to win a third successive Masters Cup title at the Qi Zhong Stadium, where the event begins on Sunday.

Murray lost to Federer in September's US Open final, but has since beaten the Swiss, in the semi-finals of last month's Madrid tournament.

Murray hasn't played Roddick since 2007, as the Briton pulled out of their quarter-final at this year's pre-Wimbledon Queen's Club tournament after damaging his thumb the day before.

However, the world No 4 has won four of their six matches that have made it on court.

A-Rod, a former world No 1 and grand slam champion, is going to need his A-game if he is to beat Murray.

Murray defeated Simon in straight sets for his Madrid title. And the way that Murray has been playing since Wimbledon, there wasn't any reason why he should have feared any of the names contained in the Shanghai cookie jar.

But, on his first appearance in the tournament, Murray was bound to be especially interested in who was in his group.

He will be disappointed if he doesn't at least qualify from his group and make the semi-finals. His meeting with Federer should be interesting; it is possible that they could meet again in the final.

The Gold Group is topped by Novak Djokovic, a Serbian who won his first grand slam title at January's Australian Open, but who has faded away in the second half of the season.

There is a man in need of a good tournament, but he could be tested in his round-robin matches by Russian Nikolay Davydenko, France's Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Argentina's Juan Martin del Potro.

Murray isn't the only first-timer at the Masters Cup, as Simon, Tsonga and Del Potro are also making their debut appearances in the competition.

Tsonga comes into the tournament after Sunday's emotional win at the Paris Masters, and Del Potro, just 20, is going to have quite a finish to the year as, after Shanghai, he will be playing for his country in the Davis Cup final against Nadal's Spain.

Red Group: Roger Federer (SUI), Andy Murray (GBR), Andy Roddick (USA), Gilles Simon (FRA)

Gold Group: Novak Djokovic (SRB), Nikolay Davydenko (RUS), Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (FRA), Juan Martin del Potro (ARG)

 

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