Well certainly not the result I wanted as Andy Murray defeated Federer 6-4 6-4 to setup a final in Shanghai with Novak Djokovic.
I had high hopes going into the match, the courts have been playing fast and Murray has been feeling under the weather with a cold but Roger just never got to the races today. Sluggish, error strewn, weird call it what you want it was a lackluster performance and I guess you have to say he did well to keep the scoreline to only 4 and 4.
The first game pretty much set the tone for the entire match, Roger was broken in the very first game making a pitiful 1 out of 5 serves. It was a poor start and when you have a returner like Murray at the other side of the net you have to get the first serve in play otherwise you’re starting nearly every point either on the back foot.
We all know Murray’s second serve is attack-able too and luckily Roger managed to break back immediately. I thought after Roger managed to escape in his next service game to move 2-1 in front he might just have clicked into gear but it didn’t happen. At 2-2 he served 3 double faults in a row to hand Murray another break which was ridiculous really. 3 double faults in a row? Not sure what caused it, perhaps he felt like he had to find the lines with Murray’s return game on song, who knows but either way it sucked.
Once Roger slipped to 4-2 the set was over and done with, Murray was playing well (his backhand is looking good) but he didn’t really have to go above and beyond to win points. I think if you make 5 double faults and 15 unforced errors at any sort of level of tennis you’d be hard pushed to win a set with those numbers. Really the fact Roger managed to get to 4 games was pretty good considering how he was serving.
The second set was again similar, he got out of his first service game with some nice serve forehand combinations but got broken at 2-2. That quickly became 4-2 and it became more and more of an uphill task. Play was halted briefly when Roger said the courts weren’t fit to play, I’m not sure really why he did that as I don’t think they were bad. Maybe another tell tale sign he just wasn’t with it today either on the serve or his overall decision making.
At 5-3 the best thing we could hope for was he at least made Murray serve it out, it wasn’t the smoothest of service games but he pulled out the hold and then rain stopped play. There was a 20 minute break which kinda ruined the whole match to be honest and Murray came out and served it out with no real problems. I know it’s hard to come out and play great from the off but Roger didn’t even really try to break, couple of netted returns, poor footwork and that was it, game over.
Looking at the stats of 4 aces, 5 double faults, 17 winners, 34 errors, 66% points won behind the 1st serve. a mere 36% behind the 2nd and only 59% of 1st serve in tells us how bad Federer served tonight. I don’t think you can win matches with stats like that.
I’ve been pretty critical of Roger in this post, justly in my view as he did stink up the place but I should also say Murray played pretty well too. He moved really well, took the game to Roger hitting some really sweet backhands and taking his second serve to pieces at times.
As for why Fed played badly I’m not too sure, some people say muscle pain but I’m not buying into excuses at the minute and I think he just had a bad day at the office. He got owned by Murray in 2010 in Shanghai and the match today was kinda similar in a lot of ways so perhaps it’s just a bad combination.
As far as Fed was concerned he never really got into the match and despite stringing a couple of amazing shots together he never got the consistency he needed to cross the finishing line.
Federer vs. Murray Stats
Anyway, that’s Shanghai over and done with as far as Federer fans are concerned and it probably means he won’t end the year end number 1. I’m not too fussed about that anyway, of course it would have been nice but it’s not a record worth chasing when there’s Slams up for grabs next season. Basel is next and that’s one of my favourite tournaments of the year, it’s a cool venue and we all know Fed loves indoor courts so it should be exciting.