There were no bone-rattling power serves and only nine aces in the matchup between Andy Murray, 23, and Roger Federer, 29, in the finals of the 2010 Shanghai Rolex Masters 1000 tournament. Instead, the Scot fourth seed and the Swiss third seed exchanged precision volleys during long, riveting rallies. Federer was healthy and in good form throughout this tournament-his first since he lost early at the U.S. Open in September. However, he was out-maneuvered in Shanghai by a thoroughly rejuvenated Andy Murray, who took just 85 minutes to close the deal in straight sets, 6-3, 6-2.
Murray fans had a lot to be proud of in his masterful performance of accurate serving (won the point on 82 percent of first serves) and stunning returns. He played a beautifully balanced game with just the right proportion of risk-taking aggression and workmanlike defensive strokes. His easy mobility around the court was phenomenal, with no trace of the inexplicable sluggishness that plagued him earlier in the season. He started right out with a break of serve and at no point during the match did he seem to falter. Murray remarked afterward that it may have been his best tennis ever.
For his part, gazelle-like Federer also made some amazing shots, keeping the match at a high level. But his unforced errors started to mount up in the face of the Murray onslaught. He was unable to convert any of the six break chances he created.
It Was the 13th Career Meeting of Murray and Federer
Roger Federer’s authoritative, unambiguous win over Serbian second seed Novak Djokovic (7-5, 6-4) and Andy Murray’s walk-in-the-park win over the unseeded Argentinian Juan Monaco (6-4, 6-1) in the semi-finals cleared the way for a Federer-Murray rematch in the finals. In the quarter-finals Federer had taken out Swedish fifth seed Robin Soderling (6-1, 6-1) while Murray easily won the day over flagging Frenchman and 12th seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (6-2, 6-2). In general, Murray had a much easier path to the final than Federer.
Andy Murray has a winning record against Roger Federer (now 8 wins, 5 losses) and defeated Federer in their most recent meeting in the July 2010 Rogers Cup Final in Toronto. However, going into the match it was not clear that Murray had the edge in Shanghai. Anyone who saw Murray’s tearful exit from the Australian Open final in January knows that Federer can be like kryptonite for the 23-year-old Scot. That painful loss was followed by a long dry spell for Murray that lasted until his first tournament win of the season in Toronto.
The only British hope for tennis glory, Murray is under enormous pressure to win his first Major (Grand Slam). Both times when he made the finals, he has bowed to Federer’s will. He was runner up to Federer in the 2008 U.S. Open and then again this year at the Australian Open. On both occasions he had been looking masterful right up until the final, when he lost to Federer in straight sets. His domination of Federer in Shanghai, in combination with his Rogers Cup win, should make Murray more confident that he will eventually prevail in the finals of a major, even if Federer turns out to be his opponent.
Top Men Jockey for 8 Slots in London ATP World Tour Finals
Even though there are no more Grand Slam tournaments to be played in 2010, the members of the deep field of talented men on the ATP tour continue to slug it out for ranking points and the chance to be one of the last eight standing. The top eight men’s players will meet for the ATP Tour Masters Series Final indoors at the O2 Center in London beginning November 21.
Thus an amazing 19 of the 20 top-ranked men were on the roster for the Rolex Masters 1000 Tournament in Shanghai this week. Only the injured Mardy Fish was missing. World number one Rafa Nadal (Spain) was eliminated unexpectedly by the 13th seed Jergen Melzer (Austria) in the 3rd round. Top American Andy Roddick, the 10th seed, retired in the 2nd round due to a groin injury.
There is one ATP Masters 1000 series tournament left to be played-the BNP Paribas Open in Paris–prior to the determination of the final roster for London. Nadal, Federer, Djokovic, and Murray have clinched their spots, but the other four spots are still in play. This should guarantee some very interesting matches in Paris, beginning November 7.
Tennis Channel coverage of the Rolex Masters 1000 ATP Tournament in Shanghai
ATP World Tour website