Fed­erer out­classes Mur­ray to set up clash

The Pak Banker - - Front Page -

LON­DON

Roger Fed­erer pro­vided an em­phatic re­minder that he will be chas­ing more ma­jor ti­tles next year with a vin­tage dis­play to out­class Bri­tain's Andy Mur­ray on Sun­day and set up a sea­son-end­ing block­buster with No­vak Djokovic.

The Swiss 17-times grand slam cham­pion, who will turn 32 next year, con­tin­ued his dom­i­nance of the ATP World Tour Fi­nals with a 7-6 6-2 vic­tory over the man who de­prived him of Olympic sin­gles gold at Wim­ble­don.

In his eighth fi­nal in 11 years at the ATP's blue-riband tour­na­ment, Fed­erer will face world num­ber one Djokovic af­ter the Serb's gran­ite-like de­fences helped re­pel the brute force of Ar­gentina's Juan Martin del Potro for a 4-6 6-3 6-2 vic­tory.

Mur­ray, who bounced back to win Olympic gold and then the US Open af­ter the heartache of los­ing to Fed­erer in this year's Wim­ble­don fi­nal, made a light­ning start, break­ing in the open­ing game, but ul­ti­mately played sec­ond fid­dle to the mas­ter.

Fed­erer ad­mits he rel­ishes steal­ing the spot­light, af­ter the world num­ber two en­joyed huge sup­port from the British crowd dur­ing his semi-fi­nal vic­tory over Mur­ray.

While British num­ber one Mur­ray was sup­posed to be the home fans' favourite at the sea­son-end­ing event, it was Fed­erer who raised the big­gest cheers from the au­di­ence in south-east Lon­don.

Fed­erer has long been pop­u­lar with fans in the UK af­ter en­joy­ing so much suc­cess at Wim­ble­don.

And the 31-year-old in­sists he wasn't sur­prised with the level of back­ing he re­ceived when tak­ing on Mur­ray. "We have played here twice be­fore and both times the crowds were amaz­ing, elec­tric and some­times even in my favour," Fed­erer said.

"You can't ex­pect them all to be cheer­ing for you if you're play­ing Andy Mur­ray here in his coun­try. But I do re­spect their sup­port and don't take it for granted. It's very spe­cial.

"I do have amaz­ing crowd sup­port all around the world, not just here in Eng­land where I prob­a­bly achieved some of the great­est mo­ments in my life.

"I al­ways get a lot of sup­port. It's been a long time since I didn't get any sup­port, let's put it that way. I don't re­mem­ber the last time.

"I guess I've been in the game for so long, I do have many peo­ple who just en­joy watch­ing me play or feel like it's a throw­back to the times when they used to play with one-handed back­hands, and they like me be­cause of those things."

Fed­erer edged an hour-long first set af­ter an ex­em­plary tiebreak and then turned on the style in the sec­ond to move one vic­tory away from win­ning a hat-trick of ti­tles at the Thames-side arena that has been host­ing the cham­pi­onships since 2009.

"I love play­ing No­vak," Fed­erer said, look­ing ahead to Mon­day's fi­nal. "I think for both of us, it's pretty straight­for­ward. I think we've got to press out the last juice that's left in our body and make it a suc­cess­ful year end."

Like Fed­erer, Djokovic also found him­self ini­tially over­pow­ered by the wrist-bend­ing fore­hand of the tow­er­ing Del Potro but came through what he de­scribed as a "cri­sis" to ul­ti­mately romp to vic­tory and stay on course for the $1.76m jack­pot for an un­de­feated cham­pion.

The 25-year-old, the only player in the eight-man event to win all three round-robin matches, was a set and break down but once again showed the war­rior-like qual­i­ties that have en­abled him to end a sec­ond con­sec­u­tive year as world num­ber one.

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