x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 18 January 2018

Federer holds no fear for Murray

The Swiss was looking to equal Rafael Nadal's record of 18 ATP Masters titles and move joint fourth with Pete Sampras on the open-era titles list.

Andy Murray of Britain returns the ball to Roger Federer during his impressive victory in Shanghai.
Andy Murray of Britain returns the ball to Roger Federer during his impressive victory in Shanghai.

SHANGHAI // Andy Murray denied Roger Federer the chance to move level with Pete Sampras in the list of all-time title winners with a resounding victory in the Shanghai Masters yesterday.

Victory for Federer would have been the 64th of his magnificent career but he produced an uncharacteristically error-strewn performance against Murray, who has now beaten the Swiss eight times in their last 13 meetings.

“I love the challenge of playing against him. I don’t fear playing him,” Murray said.

“I don’t know if my game matches up well against his or not, but I’ve played some of my best tennis against Roger,” the Scotsman added yesterday.

Murray broke Federer’s serve four times in the 6-3, 6-2 victory, while fighting off six break points. He also served six aces, while the third-seeded Swiss had three.

“I got a lot of free points on my serve,” Murray, who did not drop a set in the tournament, said.

“I didn’t give him any chances to go for it. I threw some with a lot of kick on, some slice, some into his forehand.”

After easily beating Robin Soderling in the quarter-finals and Novak Djokovic in the semi-finals, Federer struggled to keep the ball in play against Murray, particularly on the forehand side.

Federer hit three forehand errors and a double fault to give Murray a break in the first game of the match. The Scot then broke Federer a second time to win the set by chasing down a drop shot and flicking a forehand into the open court for a winner.

Federer had four break chances to come back early in the second set, but Murray saved them all with several well-placed serves and – on the last one – a backhand passing shot down the line to end a lengthy rally.

Federer never challenged Murray’s serve again and dropped his own serve twice more to lose the match.

“Missing so many important shots, really, over and over again, obviously took a lot of my confidence away and then the target seemed to get smaller and smaller and that’s definitely to his credit and a pity for me,” Federer said.

Meanwhile, Ana Ivanovic has won her first WTA Tour title in two years after defeating Patty Schnyder 6-1, 6-2 in the final of the Generali Ladies Open in Linz, Austria. Tamarine Tanasugarn beat Kimiko Date Krumm 7-5, 6-7, 6-1 in the Japan Women’s Open.