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Murray Defeats Sluggish Federer in Shanghai

Murray Defeats Sluggish Federer in Shanghai

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.

Federer looking glum

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

Federer vs Murray Match 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.

About Jonathan

Huge fan of Roger Federer - I'll pretty much try and watch all his matches from Grand Slam level right down to ATP 250. When I'm not watching or tweeting about tennis I play regularly myself and use this blog to share my thoughts on Fed and tennis in general.

50 comments

  1. It was a strange match indeed: Fed was not really into it from start to finish.

    I can’t wait to see him live in Basel for the first time on the 25th :D

    • Yeah, I think he has had enough of this season. He played a lot and its taking its toll.

      Cool that you’re watching in Basel! I’d like to watch at St Jakobshalle but doubt I’ll get to see Fed in action there.

  2. He can’t win everything all the time anymore and that is ok with me. Roger did look sluggish but there were beautiful shots from him. Of coarse i love it when Roger wins but he still had huge success in Shanghai. Reaching 300 Weeks at Number 1 is a record no one will ever pass, not in my lifetime anyways if ever. Cheer up Jonathon, as you say Basel is next. If Roger was having back problems it would explain a lot. Andy played great but if Roger was 100% he would have won. Kudos to Andy, i hope he beats Novak.

  3. Oh, just saw that you will be seeing Roger, i am thrilled for you.

  4. Fed looked like he was missing that extra gear in the entire tournament to be honest, strange considering he’s just had a few weeks off. Maybe all that tennis earlier in the season is taking its toll?

    • Think you’re spot on Oscar. Looked good vs Lu but against Stan and Cilic whilst he played well enough he still wasn’t clinical. Played at a similar level today and Murray is better than those guys.

  5. Fed has been out of sorts and up and down. Whatever, he nothing left to prove. Proud of him all the way.

    • Of course the year has been a dream. Always a shame when he doesn’t turn up in winnable matches. Even today it could have easily been a different result. Just didn’t have that bit extra.

  6. First of all, I wanted to say to Jonathan. I started following your entries a few months ago and enjoy reading your input. I am a relatively new supporter of Federer but became quite knowledgeable about his game quite quickly, mainly because I became quite an afficionado right away. He is the reason I picked up tennis again at the age of 28.

    Having said that, I think you’re being a bit too harsh on him. I missed the first half of the first set and maybe I missed something there but I thought he didn’t play/move as terribly as you described. I think Andy played fantastic (and I don’t favor him very much; think he has an insipid personality or no personality at all). Federer’s serve was MIA, that’s true, but the low return stats are very much due to how Andy played, I thought. Perhaps Andy didn’t let Federer loosen up and play his game?

    • Hey Dasha thanks for the comment.

      I don’t think he moved bad but just some of his footwork was sluggish. Just wasn’t as sharp as he can be, if you’re not in the right position to play the shot then you mis hit, shank or generate no power. Seemed to happen quite abit today.

      Murray played well enough but wasn’t like he was on another level. Didn’t really have to work hard for his breaks of serve. He returned well as he usually does and Fed just served poorly.

      I think to be honest that Fed has played too much now this year. And it’s more mental than physical.

    • Dasha, you and I have something in common. We picked up tennis only and only because of Roger. I was so distraught after his 2008 Wimby loss, I just bought a racquet and hit the courts. I’m not sure what I’ll do once he retires :) I’m not going to watch these bozos.

  7. From the start Roger didn’t appear to be at his best and all credit to Andy Murray for putting the greatest of all time under such pressure.

    But for Fed does it really matter? When was his last event? He was exhausted after the Davis Cup tie vs. the Netherlands, became the first player to stay 300 weeks at world No. 1 by reaching the QF.

    All in all a good week for the Swiss but Murray simply better on the day.

    Great post JM :-)

  8. Murray was really good – sure, Fed played poorly but part of that had to do with how aggressive Andy was being off the return.
    Anywho, upwards and onwards to Basel, and you know Fed wants to win his 7th title there. Winning it would set up for an interesting WTF.

  9. Sid TheCookieThief

    Trust me folks, Roger played this one just for his fans and of course to make the organizers happy. He was neither mentally or physically prepared to go all the way. Enough said!

  10. Fed looked tense from the beginning (as he did with Berdych at US Open. I think he knew he had to play close to his best today against Murray, who is now clearly a part of the top four. High quality first serves are key to Federer in matches against Rafa, Novak, and Andy. He didn’t have it today. If he plays well in the indoor season and Novak doesn’t build a big lead in ranking points at year end, Fed may be able reclaim the ranking after the Aussie open, especially if Novak is beaten in the semis (or earlier) and Fed makes semis or better. Hope springs eternal!

    • he seemed to be trying too hard to play well . He plays his best tennis when it is free flowing and not so conscious. He was always trying to play better than he would be able to and putting too much pressure on himself he should have let it be free flowing and play naturally and he could have maybe won a set

    • Good point Raja, would be a good steal if he got the number 1 after the Australian Open. Djoker has looked invincible in Melbourne last 2 years, about time Fed played well there again.

  11. WOW!! Interesting comments.

  12. Really poor performance, sadly looks like Djokovic is definitely going to steal No.1 from him before the year end. Three DF in a row? Is that a first by Roger?

    • I think so man, I’ve never seen it. He said it’s happened before but I dunno if he means since he first picked up a racket because I can’t remember it happening at ATP level.

      • Sid TheCookieThief

        I’ve always wanted to and tried to play like Roger. After seeing those 3 DF’s, and giving up a break from 40-0, I can say I play exactly like him!

      • Think I served 4 in a row once. But I’ve served 4 aces in a row so I’m break even.

      • Sid TheCookieThief

        Your serve must be really good. Unfortunately, that’s my weakest shot. When I serve an ace, at first I’m bemused. Then I feel like it’s Christmas :)

  13. Hi Guyz

    3 double faults in a row? can’t remember the last time I saw Fed do that.Fed was busy fighting against Fed himself.He needed to have his A game tonight and as he didn’t, he paid the price.
    Fed was sloppy today and his body language wasn’t very positive the past few days.He was coming here for the fans I think and to add up his points as well.He did want a couple more weeks off/rest but he did what he could.Hopefully he can go back and relax and come out fresh for Basel and especially for London.We doesn’t know what miracle Fed going to show us during indoor senson.still hope he will finish the year as NO.1…enjoy guys:)

    • Yeah he did look a little downbeat I thought. Maybe playing Davis Cup was a mistake and he didn’t get the rest he needed. Also Mirka + the twins weren’t in Shanghai, maybe he finds it difficult without them there too..

  14. feel like crap. I am feeling pretty crazy now. Federer loses to the scum of the earth, and 6-4 6-4. He played so inconsistently it looked more like the world no. 100 rather than no. 1. Soo many unforced errors, and soo many double faults. A terrible percent win ratio on second serve. It wasn’t a Roger 3.0 out there, it was Roger 0.0. I want to be optimistic but I can’t see anything that will cheer me up. This tournament is over for me as well as Roger and in the final tomorrow I don’t want anyone to win. Fed can say goodbye to no. 1 if he doesn’t win basel and Paris and the WTF, and he’s going to skip Paris most likely. I have nothing to say other than better luck next time, and try to get your firm back. Ps. I don’t just feel like crap. I feel like another profanity that I probably can’t write down. Well mugray, you better win tomorrow too, but because dickovic is not getting the no. 1 spot back. And to finish, good luck in basel:-) Just to further highlight how I feel: :-[

    • Relax Husain, it aint the end of the world man. This season has been awesome so far, pretty much won everything going. Sure a few disappointments like the US Open but winning Wimbledon and 3 masters 1000 tournaments is awesome.

    • Do you expect him to win all the time? I don’t feel great either but I am really proud of Federer and his accomplishments for 2012. Did we all expect him to win Wimbledon or Indian Wells against Nadal or comeback against Benneteau. He worked harder than anyone on the tour at thirty- one not twenty-five. Give the guy a break, he’s a human being and deserves to be cut slack.

  15. the match completely sucked.. fed has started showing glimpses of the fed of 2010 and pre uso 2011. first it was the olympics then the USO and now shahnghai. He had zero confidence on serve today when do you see someone hitting winners like that at will on rogers second serve?? His last two losses will really reduce his confidence.
    its not the fact that he lost but the way he lost that is bothering.
    Murray was playing pretty average in the first half of the first set roger had numerous chances but instead of taking them he gave a break to murray removed pressure from his shoulders and the murray never looked back. similar to the berdych match.
    murray always seems to start slow against federer for example the wimby final but fed seems to take it to another level against murray as far as starting slow is concerned.
    this is very weird as fed is mostly quick out of the blocks.

    Anyway now lets hope for the best and pray he finds his form and wins atleast a tournament or two going into 2013 and keep the gap between him and djoker to 500-600 points so he may have a chance of regaining it after the AUSO. But now i think he should reduce the no of tournaments he plays and focus on the slams a lot more and not worry about being no.1.
    **Intrestingly in his interview he said that he needs a lot of practice and hasnt been practicing too much this year due to a packed schedule and that it is now catching up. That means it will be hard to end the season like he did last year…….

    • Yeah was a poor tournament. But he did keep Number 1 for 300 weeks, that’s still an accomplishment.

      Very interesting that he says he needs more practice, maybe he’s not happy with his game right now and it’s hard to correct those things during matches. Hopefully he has a good break at London, rests up and hits the practice courts.

  16. If I may be so bold, I think what we are seeing is the ushering in of the ‘Return’ Era. It began with Djokovic and now its Murray who’s picked up the mantle.

    Roger lifted the game to unprecedented heights, both on and off the courts, and his opponents needed to figure out a way to solve the Roger problem. It was bound to happen sooner rather than later- its the law of human evolution. Nadal had the perfect prototype and more importantly he had the belief. Courts were getting slower and attack could be beaten by defense.

    Then came Novak, who solved Nadal, really going after the serve (and the angled back hand to Nadal’s Forehand) but I still believe it all began with the return. He put Nadal on the defense right from the get go. It just seemed too easy.

    Now Murray seems to have picked up cue. He was always a good returner, but I have never seen any one go after returns like these two (not even Agassi). Going after Nadal’s serve is one thing, but Federer’s serve is MILES superior to Nadal’s and to be able to pound that at will says something.

    These guys know that they don’t really need to do anything special for the other players, who they’ll generally beat unless they’re having an off day, it’s the three others within the top 4 that they have to beat if they are to win a tournament.

    Tennis has reached a point where further improvements in the serve are going to be hard, forehands attack backhands. The areas for greatest ‘bang-for-your-buck’ lie, I believe, in the Return and the Backhand. (Take Federer’s backhand for example- it’s become far better today than it was 5 years back- because of everyone targeting it).

    Eventually somebody’ll figure out a way to beat this style of play as well and he’ll be the new top dog in tennis. Someday. But till that day, we still have Roger.

    • Cool comment Gaurav, I agree man, the return of serve is key these days and it wins Djoker a lot of matches.

      It will be interesting to see if Nadal comes back at his same level, Murray struggles against him in big matches so can he return his way to victory?

  17. Heyyy guys, I read ‘Quest for Perfection’ and look what I JUST read (it is written after Roger took No.1 in Fabruary 2004): “Since the ATP rankings were introduced in 1973, many of the 22 players who achieved the No. 1 ranking disappeared shortly after attaining the top spot. Australian Patrick Rafter, Spaniards Carlos Moya and Juan CarlosFerrero, the Chilean Marcelo Rios, the Austrian Thomas Muster and the Russian Yevgeny Kafelnikov were all only able to maintain the No. 1 ranking or less than a period of 10 weeks. Federer, however, did not see himself at the end of a road but at the beginning of a new one.” NEW ONE that will last 300 weeks!!! GOAT

  18. All you guys just calm down, ok, just calm down. Nobody has figured out Roger. Only time has figured him out. Not too long ago, he won Wimbledon, against all odds, beating Djoker en route. And he added a silver medal. He make Djoker look like a schoolboy at Cincy. Can we just be proud of him please?

  19. Murray is nothing but a poser. The British poured in all the money in the world. Then they bought Lendl. Murray huffed, and puffed, and fumed, and whined. He kept hurting himself like a masochist. Kept talking to himself like a geriatric. Thanks to him, I now know the various muscle groups and joints in the human body. He even stole the “Whoo-pee” soundtrack from Wickmayer! That’s a serious copyright violation. Finally, he managed to win one slam. Well done Murray, well done! Win another one and you might see your picture on the British pound.

    • Not just the British pound, but he shall receive an MBE OR AN OBE for Contributions to tennis.
      Oh how dumb the most of is Brits are.

      • Sid TheCookieThief

        “Oh how dumb the most of is Brits are”
        I wouldn’t go that far. Maybe you are referring to Murray fans?

      • Oh not all of them. I mean I come from england and i don’t think murray is a great guy, nor do i enjoy watching him succeed. It’s just that the people who only watch tennis when wimbledon is on, and who don’t give a damn about it when it’s not, all WORSHIP murray as though he’s some kind of god, and it really pisses me off when i see their smug smiles and their ridiculous comments of how murray will win more slam’s than roger. And the MEDIA. Don’t get me started on the media, i could go on for hours.
        The fact is, they’re all gits. End of.

      • Sid TheCookieThief

        I know, I know, I was just messing with you man :) The bar is so low for him, I guarantee you if he wins 2 more slams, he will be elected British PM.

    • Haha “thanks to him I know the various muscle group and joints in the human body” too funny.

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