World No. 3 Andy Murray will challenge for a third successive Shanghai Rolex Masterscrown on Sunday after a dominant, aggressive display saw him dismiss Roger Federer 6-4, 6-4 in the semi-finals.
The Scot has a perfect 12-0 record in Shanghai, having won the title in 2010 (d. Federer) and 2011 (d. Ferrer). In his bid for a hat-trick of titles, Murray will face World No. 2 Novak Djokovic in a re-match of theUS Open final, which the Dunblane native won in five sets. Murray also beat the Serb in the semi-finals of the London 2012 Olympics, but trails 7-8 overall in their FedEx ATP Head2Head series.
Looking ahead to the clash with Djokovic, Murray said, “I’ve known him for 14, 15 years now. We’ve obviously had some incredibly tough matches which can maybe test a friendship. But we’ve always been I think pretty respectful of each other.”
The 25-year-old Murray improved to a 10-8 career lead over Federer as he defeated the Swiss in one hour and 38 minutes. Breaks were exchanged at the start of the match before Federer gave away his serve in the fifth game, committing three successive double faults.
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The top-seeded Federer fended off seven break points at the start of the second set in a game that was briefly interrupted by rain. The Swiss’ reprieve was shortlived, though, as Murray hit a return winner to break serve in the fifth game. Rain suspended play again with Murray poised to serve for the match at 5-4, but at the resumption the Scot was clinical in his dismissal of Federer.
"He didn’t serve that well for him tonight, so I was able to be very aggressive on his second serve," explained Murray. "He maybe slowed down his first serve a little bit, so I was able to take a few more chances. Obviously that helped. I went for it, like I did the past few times I played against him, and it worked tonight. When you’re beating the best player of all time probably, it’s obviously going to be special."
Murray has a 53-12 match record on the season, highlighted by winning his first Grand Slam title at the US Open and clinching the gold medal at the London 2012 Olympics (d. Federer). He was also runner-up to Federer in the Wimbledon final. He is looking to win his first ATP World Tour Masters 1000 title of the season and the ninth of his career.
By reaching the quarter-finals this week, Federer guaranteed he will top the South African Airways ATP Rankings for a 300th week on Monday. The Swiss is locked in battle with Djokovic to finish as the year-end World No. 1 and will continue his quest at the Swiss Indoors Basel.
"It was a bit up and down, too up and down for my taste," said Federer. "To probably beat him tonight, I played okay at times, but overall Andy was just the better player and he deserved to win at the end really.
"It’s been an OK week overall. I played all right. I didn’t play great. But I did come here and reach the 300 weeks. I guess I have to be happy with that. I wish I could have played better tonight against Andy and pushed him further, even though it was somewhat close. I know as well that it could have gone the other way as well, it could have been even more one sided. I tried hard, and that’s all I could do tonight."