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Page last updated at 16:08 GMT, Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Roger Federer crushes lacklustre Andy Murray in London

ATP World Tour Finals
Venue: O2 Arena, London Dates: 21-28 November
Coverage: One match each day live on BBC TV, streamed online & available through iPlayer; text commentary online and on mobiles for every singles match via BBC Sport website; every singles match live on 5live sports extra.

Andy Murray

Highlights - Murray v Federer

By David Ornstein at the O2 Arena

Roger Federer wowed the O2 Arena with a masterful performance to outclass Britain's Andy Murray and take command of Group B at the ATP World Tour Finals.

The world number two won 6-4 6-2 in one hour 16 minutes to move clear at the top of the pool, with Robin Soderling beating David Ferrer in the evening match.

Federer beat Ferrer for the loss of just five games on Sunday and he picked up where he left off against Murray to reduce his head-to-head deficit against the world number five to 8-6.

With the top two from Groups A and B in this eight-man round-robin competition advancing to the semi-finals, Federer is now in pole position to go through, while Murray will almost certainly need to beat Ferrer in his final match on Thursday to stand a chance.

"I did the two most important things in tennis very poorly today, which is serve and return," admitted Murray, who won just eight points on the Federer serve.

"Against someone as good as Roger, you can't do them badly. You're not going to win the match and that's why the score line was like it was.

"But it happens sometimes against him and against the best players if you're not quite on your game. I just have to try to pick myself up for the next match and put myself in the semis."

Federer shocked by 'clean' Murray victory

The British number one is now in the same position - a win and a loss from his first two matches - as he was 12 months ago, when he went out by the slimmest of margins, on the percentage of games won, despite winning his third match.

This was his 14th meeting with Federer and while the Swiss master beat Murray at the same stage in 2009 and in January's Australian Open final, the Scot had won their two most recent meetings in straight sets, including a 6-3 6-2 win in the final of October's Shanghai Masters.

"Andy has beaten me the last few times so I'm surprised how clean the score was today, but I don't think Andy played his best match, that is for sure," Federer said afterwards.

"He got off to a bad start with his serve and never really found it. That's what happens in best-of-three set matches. They are over in a hurry and you don't know what happened.

"I'm surprised it went so well, almost a bit shocked to be honest. But obviously I'm happy I'm playing so well."

Both players arrived on court to deafening ovations, the 17,500 near-capacity crowd encapsulating the general sense of excitement surrounding the most high-profile match of the tournament so far.

Murray warmed up by dispatching Soderling for the loss of just six games on Sunday but Federer, appearing in his ninth end-of-season championships and bidding for a record-equalling fifth title, brought form of his own.

The 16-time Grand Slam champion had lost just four of his 35 matches since Wimbledon and, although not quite as fluent as Murray in his opener, saw off Ferrer with ease.


It made for a engrossing backdrop and there was no shortage of early entertainment as Federer passed Murray with a sublime backhand to earn a break point in game one.

Murray averted the danger but he was struggling to land his first serve or find rhythm on his backhand, and Federer was cranking up the pressure.

It came as little surprise when the 29-year-old from Basel broke to love in game three and, such was Federer's dominance at that point, it was easy to see him running away with the set.

But Murray was receiving plenty of encouragement from the stands and the 24-year-old began to show glimpses of the aggressive tennis he believes is imperative if he is to overcome the likes of Federer and Rafael Nadal on a consistent basis.

His big chance came in game nine when Federer clipped a forehand long and was then passed at the net.

However, Murray failed to capitalise from 0-30 and was punished as an overhead put-away, inside-out forehand winner and running volley helped Federer seal the first set.

Roger Federer
Federer slams another majestic forehand back at Murray

The hard facts - 13 unforced errors and a first-serve percentage of 32% - would not have pleased Murray or his fans, but their afternoon went from bad to worse as Federer made a blistering start to the second set.

Another stunning forehand winner enabled Federer to take his third break point in game one and his advantage was consolidated with a hold to love.

The number two seed was dragging his opponent all over the place and he engineered another break of serve in game three to put himself firmly on course for victory.

"I got off to a bad start in both sets, which doesn't help. I returned poorly, served poorly," said Murray, who won just eight points on Federer's serve.

"Normally my return game is the strongest part of my game. Today, I didn't put many returns in the court and I didn't put any pressure on his game."

Murray managed to avoid embarrassment, spraying a few majestic winners to collect two service holds, but he was merely delaying the inevitable.

Federer looked as assured as ever on serve in game eight and when Murray lashed a forehand into the net on match point, the Swiss was able to lap up the crowd's acclaim.

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see also
Andy Murray column
23 Nov 10 |  Tennis
Solid Soderling sees off Ferrer
23 Nov 10 |  Tennis
Murray v Federer as it happened
23 Nov 10 |  Tennis
Federer opens with Ferrer victory
21 Nov 10 |  Tennis
Murray downs Soderling in opener
21 Nov 10 |  Tennis
ATP World Tour Finals photos
21 Nov 10 |  Tennis
ATP approve seven-week Tour break
21 Nov 10 |  Tennis
Murray near major win - Rusedski
21 Nov 10 |  Tennis
Murray focused on winning start
19 Nov 10 |  Tennis
The contenders
18 Nov 10 |  Tennis

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FROM OTHER SPORT SITES Roger Federer 'shocked and surprised' by how easily he beat Andy Murray - 47 mins ago
Observer Murray swamped by resurgent Federer - 1 hr ago
International Business Times UK Federer crushes Murray to go top of Group B - 1 hr ago
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