Andy's on fire! Federer burned up by dazzling Brit star in Shanghai Masters final
Mike Dickson Tennis Correspondent
Last updated at 3:22 PM on 18th October 2010
Whenever Andy Murray and Roger Federer meet they end up inflicting scars on one another, and on Sunday it was the British No 1's turn to leave an indelible mark.
His superb 6-3, 6-2 victory over the great Swiss to win the Shanghai Masters title was the biggest beating dished out in all their 13 meetings and further proof that Murray has his measure when the mood takes him.
Federer, much to his frustration, knows this and has won only five of their encounters. But he will console himself that in their most important match of the season, the Australian Open final, it was he who left the biggest mark of all.
Look what I've got: Murray proudly holds aloft the trophy after victory in Shanghai
Murray would happily swap his two Masters titles of this season - both achieved in finals against Federer, the other one being Toronto in August - for a victory in Melbourne, but this 85-minute romp was reassurance of his sublime talent.
Murray has an 8-5 record over Federer, but lost their two best-of-five set matches.
US Open 2008: Federer 6-2, 7-5, 6-2
Aus Open 2010: Federer 6-3, 6-4, 7-6
Bangkok 2005: Federer 6-3, 7-5
Cincinnati 2006: Murray 7-5, 6-4
Dubai 2008: Murray 6-7, 6-3, 6-4
Madrid 2008: Murray 3-6, 6-3, 7-5
China 2008: Murray 4-6, 7-6, 7-5
Doha 2009: Murray 6-7, 6-2, 6-2
Indian Wells 2009: Murray 6-3, 4-6, 6-1
Cincinnati 2009: Federer 6-2, 7-6
London 2009: Federer 3-6, 6-3, 6-1
Toronto 2010: Murray 7-5, 7-5
Shanghai 2010: Murray 6-3, 6-2
It was timely enough, too, for it comes only six weeks after his second most disappointing reverse of 2010, the third-round exit at the US Open to the other, lesser Swiss, Stanislas Wawrinka.
When Murray rises to the challenge of the big points like he did, displaying brilliant controlled aggression to deny Federer six break points and breaking serve four times, you wonder how he managed to lose to Wawrinka over five sets at Flushing Meadows.
You can only think that the
difference lies with the fact that yesterday was one of the nine
Masters events, held in a distant suburb of Shanghai, whereas the US
Open is where it matters most to him, and where he puts per haps even
more pressure on himself than at Wimbledon.
Regardless, he continues to relish playing Federer.
Murray said: 'It's incredibly
difficult but I really enjoy the challenge of playing him, I don't fear
playing him. Maybe it's that when I play him I know that I have to play
great tennis to win.
Great Scot: Andy Murray was in fine form throughout the Shanghai Masters final
'I need to play like this for a
whole tournament in the Slams. I don't think my game needs to improve
much. I need to keep winning events like this. When you beat Roger and
Rafa (Nadal) it gives you confidence you can beat them in the Slams.'
Murray displayed the sort of purpose
that deserted him in New York and the victory sets him up for the last
three events of the season, defending his 2009 title in Valencia,
followed by the Paris Masters and, most importantly, the season-end
Barclays ATP Tour World Finals in London.
Second best: Federer lost out to Murray in Shanghai
The points garnered in China also put him back in touch with Federer and Novak Djokovic in the battle for the No 2 ranking. Murray was in sparkling form from the start to break immediately, and when Federer threatened to pull back an early break responded with an ace.
The Swiss became increasingly frustrated in the second set, complaining bitterly about one overrule, as he failed to convert his break points and made 30 unforced errors in all.
Fan-tastic: A big crowd turned out in Shanghai to see messrs Murray and Federer
This, as is often the case, was partly the result of having to press too hard when faced with the extraordinary defence of the 23-year-old Scot. Murray also took a shine to Federer's second serve and punished it heavily, winning 76 per cent of those points.
Particularly encouraging has been his greater aggression on his forehand and an improvement in his second serve.
'Andy played great, he didn't give me much and made me work extremely hard, making me go for shots that I couldn't pull off,' said Federer, who was playing his first event since the US Open.
Smoking: Murray enters the arena before beating Federer to lift the Shanghai Masters trophy
'I had a few chances and maybe could have swung the momentum around. The next step is for Andy to win a Grand Slam, but it's hard to make that breakthrough.'
In all it was more evidence that Murray can beat any player at any time, with the likely exception of Nadal on a clay court. But then we knew that already.
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