Saturday, January 30, 2010

Head to Head - Murray v Federer

"I didn't aspire to be a good sport; 'champion' was good enough for me."
Fred Perry (1909-1995)

There are now less than 12 hours before Andy Murray faces Roger Federer in the final of the Australian Open. The Scot goes into the final knowing one thing. Win or loss he will still have a better win-loss record against the worlds number one and not a lot of people can say that. But of course as Andy himself has said he wants to chalk up another in that win column. Here are the 10 previous encounters.

Bangkok Final, 2005, hard court: Federer wins 6-3, 7-5

Andy's first tour final when he was only 18 but he came up against the world number one. Andy had just broken into the top 100 at the time. But taking 8 games in a 2 set defeat was still nothing to be sniffed at in his first meeting.

Cincinnati Masters, 2006, Second Round, hard court: Murray wins 7-5, 6-4

This was the second week of the teaming up with Brad Gilbert and Andy faced Fed in the second round. He was one of only two players to beat Federer that year, the other being Nadal.

Dubai, 2008, First Round, hard court: Murray wins 6-7, 6-3, 6-4

Federer has just lost to Novak Djokovic in the Australian Open Semis and game up against an unseeded Murray in the first round. It isn't often that Federer loses in the first round of any tournament but this was a sign that Andy was a real contender.

US Open final, 2008, hard court: Federer wins 6-2, 7-5, 6-2

Andy's first Grand Slam final, but unlike this fortnight he'd had a tough time getting there. This time he has really only played half a set over the minumum requirement to get to the final. This time he is fresh in New York he was tired as this demolition proved.

Madrid Masters Semi-Final, 2008, hard court: Murray wins 3-6, 6-3, 7-5

Andy had won the Cincinnati Masters Event before the US Open and this was his first event after that defeat in the Final. So in the semi-final they meet again but this time the Scot fought back after losing the first set to take a second successive Masters but this one by beating Fed.

Masters Cup, Shanghai 2008, hard court: Murray wins 4-6, 7-6, 7-5

Over three hours of grueling tennis that knocked Federer out at the Round Robin stage of the season ending tournament. Tomorrow might well be a long old slog and this is a sign that Andy can win such encounters against Federer.

Doha Semi- Final, January 2009, hard court: Murray wins 6-7, 6-2, 6-2

Andy recovered from a back injury in the third set to record yet another win on his way to the final.

Indian Wells Masters, March 2009, hard court: Murray wins 6-3, 4-6, 6-1

Murray fended off a second set fightback to snare his opponent for a fourth successive time in the semi-finals but went on to lose to Rafael Nadal in the final.

Cincinnati Masters Semi-Final, August 2009, hard court: Federer wins 6-2, 7-6

Federer finally wins one again over the newly-crowned world No 2 and defending champion in this semi-final encounter but brushes aside his poor head-to-head record against his rival. "It doesn't matter to me, I'm past that point."

ATP Tour Finals, London O2 Arena, November 2009, hard court: Federer wins 3-6 6-3 6-1

In London Andy starts well taking the first set having broken Federer twice. But his serve deserts him in the final set as Federer gets revenge for his defeat the previous season.

So there you have it. Their record is 6-4 in favour of Andy. My prediction is that it won't be over in three sets. I think Andy will edge it in 4 or 5 sets.

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