Hey all, big win for Fed here as he took out Murray 6-3 7-5 to book his spot in the Semi Finals at the Cincinnati Masters. Any win against Murray is always a meaningful one as he's been one of the big four for the last 4/5 years and the fact I'm not really a fan of his is just the icing on the cake.
I think this was Fed's best performance of the week in terms of match play as he was tactically spot on, came back from 1-4 down in the 2nd set and was really the better player throughout. Even when Murray inevitably started playing better I thought Fed was still the enforcer in all areas of the court and the player who was able to create more chances.
With the Monfils match we got some moments of brilliance from both guys but it was erratic and more about Fed's mental strength getting him over the line. With Murray things are much more tactical and about moving each other around. Murray's flat cross court backhand is a key shot for him in the matchup whereas Fed's key is how well he can return and stay on top in the rallies. I think Fed managed to get everything right when he needed to and that gave Murray no real chance no matter how well he played. Consistent Fed beats Murray everytime.
Quick Match Recap
Murray won the toss and elected to serve but soon found himself down 2 break points. However some tame-ish play from Fed allowed him to make deuce and he went onto hold. More trouble soon followed for the Scot in his next service game and again 2 break points went begging for Fed as Murray held for 2-1.
At 2-2 Fed again created a break point, finally converting it at the 7th time of asking to lead 3-2. In true style the Swiss faced a break point trying to consolidate dumping a casual volley into the net at 30 all but he held to lead 4-2. 4-2 was soon 5-3 and with Murray serving to stay in the set he slipped down to 0-40 before sailing a forehand long to give Federer a 1 set lead.
Breaking Murray twice was ideal as it meant Roger would be serving first at the start of the 2nd but after a confident opening he let the advantage slip as Murray broke to lead 2-1. Roger then played another poor service game to drop serve for the second time giving Murray 2 breaks and a 4-1 lead.
Quite surprisingly though Roger didn't really look too bothered that he'd lost 2 service games in a row, I guess he thought he was playing well enough to win it 3 sets if he needed to so decided no to get too down on himself.
That lack of frustration on his part clearly worked in his favour as he played a very free return game at 1-4 to recoup one of the breaks. An insane forehand down the line followed in his next service game and the score was 3-4. Back in business.
Murray, who had let a 4-1 lead slip against Tsonga in Toronto was soon under more pressure and a wild forehand at 15-30 was followed up with a double fault. 4-4 Allez!
At 30 all in the next service game we got 2 points that won Fed the match I think, first Murray blazed a return deep into the court but Fed just redirected the ball with a stunning forehand for a clean winner. We then got an insane squash shot forehand get to stay in the point and he held for 5-4. Back in front for the first time in the set since his opening service game.
Murray then held for 5 all but a quick Federer hold put the pressure immediately back on him. A sweet volley gave Roger 30 all and despite Murray holding a game point, he lost 3 points in a row finally dumping a tame forehand into the net as Roger sealed it 6-3 7-5.
|A. Murray||R. Federer|
|1st Serve %||48%||60%|
|1st Serve Points Won||21/35 (60%)||27/38 (71%)|
|2nd Serve Points Won||17/38 (45%)||13/25 (52%)|
|Break Points Saved||8/13 (62%)||4/6 (67%)|
|Service Games Played||11||10|
|1st Return Points Won||11/38 (29%)||14/35 (40%)|
|2nd Return Points Won||12/25 (48%)||21/38 (55%)|
|Break Points Won||2/6 (33%)||5/13 (38%)|
|Net Points Won||5/9||17/27|
|Return Games Played||10||11|
|Total Service Points Won||38/73 (52%)||40/63 (63%)|
|Total Return Points Won||23/63 (37%)||35/73 (48%)|
|Total Points Won||61/136 (45%)||75/136 (55%)|
Thoughts on the Match
A very pleasing win here for Roger and one that leaves Murray without a Top 10 win since Wimbledon 2013. Roger on the other hand is adding more records to his legacy and he's the first player in tennis history to record 10 wins against top 10 players in 10 different seasons.
I think execution wise Federer got everything right here and although it wasn't the cleanest match in terms of Winners / Unforced Errors he kept the errors at bay on the important points. If you just look at the stats you would think 20 winners and 32 errors, it must have been a poor match from Fed, but statistics only tell you so much. Lies, damned lies and statistics 🙂 . On the big points Fed was very solid and he took his chances, pretty much every point you felt like he had the upper hand and would always be able to create chances no matter Murray could throw at him.
As usual attacking tennis paid off for him and even when Murray started to play better in the 2nd set hitting with more depth he kept him at bay with some really nice plays that kept Murray off balance. Roger's backhand was also much improved and didn't break down; as we know Murray's backhand goes straight into the Fed backhand but he was rock solid on it all night.
As for Murray he was again pretty poor when it mattered, leading 4-1 and with 2 breaks someone of his quality and standing should really be closing out that set. He just doesn't seem to have ‘it' lately. Like Roger has said many times, there are many pieces to the puzzle and Murray just looks imbalanced with his game. Could be some negative Trip Advisor reviews of his hotel playing on his mind? 😆
I'm expecting Murray to improve later in the year but I do think it's going to be tough for him to get back to his peak level so I don't know if he can factor at all the Slams. In my opinion his base level is 9/10 talent, 8/10 physical and 8/10 mental. He was able to be 10/10 physical with some serious conditioning work and 9/10 mental with Lendl on board. But I think he has a fragile frame under the muscle he put on and reaching 10/10 physically again is going to be tough. Fed has been 10/10 talent, 10/10 physical and 9/10 mental since 2003, just shows you how consistent he is. Murray managed it for 12 months, Fed has done it for 10 years and counting.
Predictions vs. Raonic
Next up is Raonic who defeated Fabio Foginini 6-0 6-1 in 57 minutes. I didn't see it but I'm guessing the result will be more about Fognini's meltdowns rather than Raonic playing well. Looking at the stats Raonic served at only 51% for the match and wasn't broken once.
The head to head very much favours Roger here and their last encounter was a complete schooling at Wimbledon in the semi final. An emphatic win from Fed really and he's crushed Raonic twice now in Slams on grass and hard court.
No secrets about the match, Raonic is what I'd call an improving serve bot, someone who depends fully on their serve but they are at least trying to add some more shots and I think his ground game and movement has definitely come on under Ljubicic and Piatti. His problem is he currently lacks variety or that extra bit of movement to really challenge the elite of the game.
It's going to be interesting to see how Raonic plays this one after Wimbledon though, I think he will be keen to put in a better performance and he's probably due a better serving day against Fed. His problem will be can he break the Federer serve? I'm not so sure, I think he's only broken Roger once in sixty return games.
A three setter probably gives Raonic a bit more of a chance and if it goes to tie breaks he might be able to sneak this one but I'll back Fed to get it done in 3: 6-4 6-7(4) 6-4.