Andy Murray’s Sunday words proved prophetic today. After a convincing win in his opening match against Robin Soderling, with a hint of clairvoyance Murray said, “I played great today. I could play horrible on Tuesday.” And like that, Murray had a horrible Tuesday, in part thanks to the superior play of Roger Federer.
Federer, who had dropped two straight and four consecutive sets to the Scot, had his way this afternoon thumping Murray 6-4, 6-2 in the round-robin of the ATP London Finals.
Federer secured an early break in the first set and was never under any pressure thereafter during the 76 minute destruction.
“I don’t think he played his best match,” admitted Federer. “He came out and made some mistakes. Maybe it was due to my good play. From my side, I was obviously very happy. It was a good match. I played tough and solid from start to finish.”
Federer dominated on his serve losing just three points on his first delivery, eight overall. Murray struggled serving at a 44% clip and he never got close to a break chance.
Federer, 2-0 and 4-0 in sets, now gets Robin Soderling Thursday afternoon.
“I hope, if I make it to the semis, then I’m fresh and really ready to go,” Federer said. “Because last year I played four matches and they all went the distance. I’m excited to play Soderling. I have a great record against him. I hope I can play the same level like I did the last two.”
For Murray, after such a promising start to the event things have crumbled. And once again he comes up short in big, pressure match. While Murray still leads Federer 8-6 in their head-to-head, in arguably the most important of those 14 encounters it’s Federer with the edge. The Swiss is 2-0 vs. Murray in London and 2-0 in Slam finals, 10-1 in sets in those four wins.
“I returned poorly, served poorly,” said Murray. “Against (Roger), that’s not going to win you the match.
“I felt okay from the back of the court, not unbelievable, but there were quite a few good rallies. I probably served about 30% of first serves in, [so] you’re not going to beat one of the top players serving like that.
“I just tried to stay calm, tried to find a way and it didn’t happen today. But I didn’t feel flat on the court at all.”
And as I said, losing in straight sets in a round robin format is killer – although 5 of the 6 matches thus far have been straight sets!
Now, on a slow court, Murray will have to beat Ferrer Thursday night to maintain a chance at qualifying for the Saturday semifinals. Today, Ferrer put up a good effort against Soderling but it wasn’t enough as the Swede advanced 7-5, 7-5.
“I served very well, especially in the first set,” said Soderling. “But it was tough. It was a close match, two really tough sets. I’m lucky that I won. I still feel that I have a lot of things that I can improve. Hopefully I can do that in two days’ time and play a good match in my next match.”
With Murray on the horizon, Ferrer sounded more than ready to fight on. He said, “I finish the season Top 10. I don’t have any problem physical, mentality. I know with Andy will be a very difficult match. I fight everything. I fight, and with Andy too.”
He might be winless but you have to admire Ferrer’s attitude.
Looking at Wednesday, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic renew their terrific rivalry. Nadal beat Novak in the US Open final ending the Serb’s 3-match win streak over Rafa. Nadal still leads 15-7.
Right now though, I give the edge to Novak. Even though Nadal finally got that monkey off his back with first win at the O2 yesterday, Novak’s been the better player the last month and indoors should favor him. I like Novak to win.
In the early match Tomas Berdych and Roddick clash for survival. The loser is likely out of the event. The winner stays alive. Roddick leads Birdy 6-2 and he’s won four straight. Roddick also fought hard in that loss to Nadal, while Tomas felt the nerves in his debut. So no reason not to give Roddick the nod in this one.
Tennis Channel’s continued live coverage begins at 9am ET with Roddick then at 3pm with Nadal-Djokovic.
WEDNESDAY LONDON SCHEDULE
CENTRE COURT start 12:15 pm
 L Kubot (POL) / O Marach (AUT) vs  W Moodie (RSA) / D Norman (BEL)
Not Before 2:00 PM
 T Berdych (CZE) vs  A Roddick (USA)
Not Before 6:15 PM
 D Nestor (CAN) / N Zimonjic (SRB) vs  M Bhupathi (IND) / M Mirnyi (BLR)
Not Before 8:00 PM
 R Nadal (ESP) vs  N Djokovic (SRB)
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