Playing like the Roger Federer of old, the 16-time Grand Slam champion easily beat Andy Murray 6-4, 6-2 at the ATP World Tour Finals.
The second-ranked Federer stretched his record to 2-0 at the season-ending tournament for the top eight players in the world, but has still not advanced to the semifinals from Group B.
Robin Soderling downed David Ferrer 7-5, 7-5 in the other Group B match, meaning all players still have a chance to advance. Federer lost only eight points on his serve in the match at the O2 Arena - three in the first set and five in the second.
“I’m surprised, I really am, that I was able to win my service games that comfortably,” said Federer, who won 63 points to Murray’s 43. “That’s not to the norm against Andy, who is one of the best return players, if not the best, in the game right now. So I’ll take that is all I can say.”
Besides controlling play with his serve, winning 88 per cent of the points when he landed his first serve, Federer also forced Murray into long rallies when he was receiving. Pulling forehands to his left and hitting them to his right with ease, Federer waited for his British opponent to make the errors or set up his winners.
“He came out and made some mistakes. Maybe it was due to my good play,” Federer said of Murray, who made 26 unforced errors. “I played tough and solid from start to finish. That seemed to be enough today.”
Murray struggled from the start, forced to save a break point in the opening game. And it was his serve that was letting him down most of the way, landing only 44 per cent of the first serves. That allowed Federer to take advantage of the much slower second serve.
“I returned poorly, served poorly,” Murray said. “Against him, that’s not going to win you the match.”
Federer earned his first break in the third game of the first set, winning all four points played. He then won his next three service games at love.
In the second set, Murray saved two break points in the opening game, but Federer stayed alive through four deuces to earn a third break point, which he converted with a forehand that hit the top of the tape and zipped past Murray.
After holding at love yet again, Federer broke again to make it 3-0 and soon led 4-0.
“I tried to play quite aggressive. You’re not going to hit winners every single time you go on the court,” said Murray. “Today I made more mistakes than normal.”
In the late match, the fourth-ranked Soderling broke his Spanish opponent in the final game of both sets. The Swede also broke the seventh-ranked Ferrer again for a 4-2 lead in the second, but the Spaniard broke back to 5-4.
Keywords: ATP World Tour Finals