Roger Federer's brave bid to battle through injury to reach the semi-finals of the Masters Cup came up short last night as he was defeated by Andy Murray to be eliminated from the tournament. Murray won a thrilling match 4-6, 7-6, 7-5 to set up a clash with Nikolay Davydenko today in the semi-finals in Shanghai. But it was the bravery of Federer in the clash that lasted more than three hours that will be most remembered as he saved seven match points before finalling succumbing to his British opponent.
The world No 2 had nearly pulled out of the tournament beforehand due to a back problem, and the injury had hampered him in his matches earlier in the week. He had to be seen twice by the ATP trainer in the third set to help him complete the match. Federer had won the opening set 6-4, but Murray bounced back and dominated the opening exchanges of the second as he broke serve twice to roar to a 5-2 lead.
But errors crept into the Scotsman's game and Federer hit back to take the set to a tie-break. Murray though played the better tennis to force a deciding set. The world No 4 charged to a 3-0 lead in the final set, but amazingly the four-times Masters champion was not done and he broke Murray's service twice, despite being in very visible pain in his back, to go ahead at 4-3. But Murray broke straight back in the eighth game, before failing to take any of the seven opportunities that he had on Federer's serve to win the match in the tenth game.
Federer battled through to hold serve, but two games later Murray finally clinched the victory. The Frenchman Gilles Simon also progressed through to face Novak Djovokic in the other semi-final today. Simon beat Radek Stepanek 6-1, 6-4 in his final group game. @Email:firstname.lastname@example.org