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Page last updated at 23:04 GMT, Monday, 8 September 2008 00:04 UK

Superb Federer ends Murray dream

Andy Murray and Roger Federer
Federer is one Grand Slam title behind Pete Sampras in the all-time list

By Piers Newbery

Roger Federer was at his brilliant best as he won a fifth straight US Open title and ended Andy Murray's hopes of a first Grand Slam crown in New York.

Murray, 21, had been trying to become the first British man since Fred Perry in 1936 to win one of the four major singles titles, but he was outclassed.

Federer stormed to a 6-2 7-5 6-2 victory in one hour 51 minutes at Flushing Meadows.

The Swiss now has 13 Grand Slam titles, one behind record holder Pete Sampras.

Federer joins Sampras and Jimmy Connors as a five-time winner of the US title in the Open era, but neither won in five successive years, although fellow American Bill Tilden managed the feat in 1924.

He is also the first man ever to win five consecutive titles at two Grand Slam tournaments - having also won Wimbledon between 2003 and 2007.

"It definitely feels great," said Federer afterwards. "This is a very special moment in my career.

"I had a couple of tough Grand Slams this year, finishing in semi-finals and two finals, one epic at Wimbledon.

"So to take this one home is incredible. It means the world to me."

I had a great tournament but I came up against, in my opinion, the best player ever to play the game today

Andy Murray
He added: "I'm not going to stop at 13 - that would be terrible! I congratulate Andy - he's done great these last two weeks. I'm sure we're going to see a lot more of him in the future."

Murray was playing in his first Grand Slam final and came into the match on the back of a first-ever win over world number one Rafael Nadal.

But the confidence the Scot carried from that landmark victory soon took a battering as Federer opened in spectacular fashion.

Having failed to win a major title so far this year, and having lost his number one ranking to Nadal, the second seed had been desperate to arrest his slide.

And after approaching his best in beating Novak Djokovic in the semis, Federer was at the top of his game from the start of the final.

Roger Federer
Federer's victory was all the more special after a disappointing year
Murray had to stave off a break point in game three but could not repeat the trick two games later, a double fault and two errors handing Federer the advantage.

The champion's confidence was obvious as he moved 4-2 clear with an outrageous forehand drive-volley on the run, before more brutal forehands forced another break in game seven, and he wrapped up the set in 26 minutes.

There was no change of momentum early in the second set, Federer firing a vicious cross-court forehand in game one and repeating the trick to break again for 2-0.

A humiliatingly swift defeat looked on the cards for the Briton, who appeared to be struggling with a knee problem, but he got a foothold in the match when Federer's level finally dropped in game three.

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Murray pounced with a big cross-court forehand and a powerful backhand drive that Federer could not control at the net, and the Scot finally had a break of serve.

The match appeared well and truly on when a couple of loose errors saw Federer slip 0-40 down again at 2-2 but he continued with his attacking policy and, thanks in part to one dubious line call, he managed to escape.

And the relentless pressure applied by Federer eventually paid off when he broke to love to take the second set in game 12, making a lunging backhand volley, a successful chip and charge, a thumping smash and a running pass.

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It was irresistible stuff from the champion and he swept into a 5-0 lead in the third set before Murray staged a late rally to cut the deficit with his second break of the day.

But it only delayed the inevitable and Federer put the British number one out of his misery on his second championship point, winning an epic rally with a smash that Murray could not return.

"I had a great tournament but I came up against, in my opinion, the best player ever to play the game today," said Murray.

"I got the better of him the last two times we played. He definitely set the record straight today.

"I've got a lot of improving to do if I want to win one of these tournaments.

"I love playing in front of this crowd - it's been the best time of my life."

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see also
Reaction to the US Open final
09 Sep 08 |  Tennis
Murray v Federer as it happened
08 Sep 08 |  Tennis
US Open final photos
08 Sep 08 |  Tennis
Federer too strong for Djokovic
06 Sep 08 |  Tennis


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