Andy Murray gunning for Federer

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The Independent Online

Andy Murray will not give Roger Federer a free ride in tomorrow's Masters Cup meeting, with the two-time defending champion needing a win to join the British number one in the semi-finals of the season-ending event in Shanghai.

After losing to Federer in the US Open final, Murray avenged the defeat on his way to October's Madrid Masters title and will look to take his career record to 4-2.

The world number four has already secured a place in the last four after easing to a 6-4 6-2 win over Gilles Simon yesterday to maintain his 100 per cent start to his maiden Masters Cup appearance.

Murray is certain to play a semi-final on Saturday with a potential final coming only a day later, but despite nearing the end of a long and successful season for the 21-year-old, he is ready to take his chance to send the world number two home.

"You try and win. I'm not going to try and lose to Federer. I've beaten him three times; I'd like to make it four," said Murray. "I don't need to try and find a balance, I just need to try and beat Federer. Ideally I'd like to knock him out of the competition if I can. I'd rather not have to play him twice in one week; he's the best player ever.

"Obviously, there's a lot more pressure on him to win more than me. It will be the first time I've played him when I've not been under pressure."

Federer surprisingly lost his opening red group round-robin outing to Simon in three sets, but kept his tournament alive yesterday with a 7-6 (7/4) 6-4 win over Radek Stepanek, who replaced the injured Andy Roddick, despite missing practice on Tuesday with a stomach upset.

The Swiss, who also lost to Murray in Dubai this year, knows he has his fate in his hands with Simon only able to advance if Murray wins regardless of the Frenchman's result against Stepanek.

But he also knows he is up against it as Murray has only lost once since the defeat by Federer at Flushing Meadows in September, with his 14-match unbeaten streak only ended by David Nalbandian at the Paris Masters.

Federer said: "I'm looking forward to the match, it should be interesting. He's a wonderful player. He's had a great end to the season. He's definitely the guy probably most in form. It's an interesting match-up. It is a tough situation because usually there's all to play for in any match during the year.

"All of a sudden you come to Masters Cup play and one's sometimes through and the other guy's not. Sometimes both are through or both are out. It does change your approach a little bit."