Roger Federer’s hope for a fifth Tennis Masters Cup title is over after falling to Andy Murray 4-6, 7-6, 7-5 in the final Red Group round-robin match. But Fed’s dream didn’t end without a fight.
Federer of course went into the match with a 1-1 record and needing to beat Murray to advance out of the round-robin and into the semifinals for a seventh straight time. For Murray, though, no such urgency existed as the Scot, making his Cup debut, had already secured his semifinal berth after two earlier RR wins.
After splitting the first two sets, Murray raced out to a 3-0 lead in the third. And with Federer undergoing treatment for an ailing back, things looked awfully dark for the Swiss.
But as champions often do, Federer needing that “miracle” he spoke of, elevated his game behind a flurry of dropshots and aggressive play and World No. 2 roared back to remarkably go up a break 4-3.
Murray quickly recovered the break to level 4-4 after Fed gagged an overhead smash. Murray then held leaving Fed to serve at 4-5 to stay in it, and somehow the Swiss did just that. In an epic 15-minute plus 10th game, Federer saved no less than SEVEN match points to keep hope alive. But it didn’t last long.
Credit to Murray who didn’t get overly discouraged after having already blown a 3-0 games lead and seven MPs. After an easy hold for 6-5, The Scot finally finished off Federer on his eighth matchpoint in the 12th game of the set.
Pretty incredible match and what a way to finish the round robin.
The win gives Murray the Red Group No. 1 seeding and with it a semifinal date against the Gold Group No. 2, Nikolay Davydenko, tomorrow.
In the other semifinal it will be Gilles Simon, a 6-1, 6-4 victor earlier in the day over Roddick fill-in Radek Stepanek, against the Gold champ Novak Djokovic.
So what will Murray have left in the tank after that 3-hour, 1-minute tussle? We’ll see, but the fact that he was able to overcome his near-choke at the end I actually think is a good sign for Andy, and if he’s fully fit you have to favor him to beat Djokovic in the final at this point.
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