Roger Federer snapped a four match losing streak to Andy Murray by winning their semifinal match at the Western & Southern Financial Group Masters event 6-2, 7-6 (8).
Fed easily won the first set as Murray got off to a slow start, going down 1-4 early in the first set. Federer’s forehand was on today and he came to the net more often, especially on Murray’s second serve.
In the second set, Murray settled down while Federer resorted back to his old tactics of trying to out finesse Murray from the baseline. Eventually it got into a tiebreak.
Murray shanked a forehand to go down 0-2 early in the breaker and it appeared Fed would cruise to the win. But at 5-4, Federer missed a first serve allowing Murray the chance to attack the second serve with a return winner to get to five-all.
Then with Federer serving at six-all, Murray stopped playing when he thought Fed’s serve was well out. When the call stood, he dropped to his knees in astonished agony. The challenge replay showed the ball got half of the line, not the complete miss Murray expected.
Murray did get things to eight-all, but Fed hit an ace on his serve to get to his second match point at 9-8. Then Murray inexplicably served a double fault to lose the match.
Although Murray got his game going in the second set, he didn’t seem mentally fresh, especially in the tie-break when he let that call that didn’t go his way get to him. Federer played well, especially attacking Murray more often than in previous matches.
I expect Murray to hang on to his #2 ranking even if Nadal wins in the final, but it will be close. Nadal is a slight favorite against Djokovic who really needs to win this match to prove he is still in the mix for the Open.