Murray On Course for Third Shanghai Title

Posted on October 13, 2012


written by Rob Pollard for Huffington Post UK

For the third consecutive year, Andy Murray will play in the Shanghai Rolex Masters final after beating Roger Federer 6-4 6-4 in a stop-start match interrupted by rain. Murray outclassed Federer and will now look to make it three Shanghai titles in a row as he faces Novak Djokovic in Sunday’s final.

Breaks were traded early on, with both players demonstrating their ability to hit powerful winners from the baseline. But as the match settled, it was Murray who looked the better player, serving well and dictating the rallies far more than his opponent. Indeed, Murray broke next to lead 4-3 as Federer served three consecutive double faults, something unheard of for a player so thoroughly consistent throughout his career on serve. That break was enough to see Murray take the opening set 6-3, by which stage he was clearly the dominant force, hitting more winners (12-10), and making less unforced errors (10 -15) than Federer.

The opening game of the second set was a thriller as Murray had 7 break point opportunities on the Federer serve. Federer eventually won the game – winning one of the finest points on tour this year in the process – but he was clearly rattled. During the long deuce period, he wanted to halt the match so that the roof could be closed after a few minor spots of rain had made their way on to the court. It was a clear sign that he was under intense pressure; struggling to cope with Murray’s aggressive style. The swiss player used all his experience, eventually riding out that particular Murray storm, but it was only a temporary reprieve, with the Scot steadfastly refusing to be blown off course.

Murray eventually broke the Federer serve again, this time after an incredible run of points that included a blistering forehand winner and a ripping return, as Murray’s dominance began to be reflected by the match stats. After a delay which finally saw the closure of the roof, Murray served out the match to record another victory over the finest player in the history of the game. He hit 24 winners to Federer’s 17, and converted 3 break points from 11 opportunities, restricting Federer to just one break point opportunity in the entire match.

Murray went into the match with a better head-to-head record against the world number 1 and it’s clear that he has a knack of getting under the Swiss player’s skin. Rarely does Federer look more frustrated than when he comes up against Murray and this match was no different. This was an excellent showing from the Scot but he will have to raise his game still further if he is to beat Djokovic and retain the title on Sunday.


Posted in: Tennis