Murray bows out as Federer rules the world

Any doubts as to whether Roger Federer would retain the same competitive hunger after his record-breaking summer and the birth of his first children were dispelled in emphatic fashion at the Cincinnati Masters last night.

In beating Andy Murray 6-2 7-6 in a semi-final lasting an hour and 30 minutes the world No 1 gave his best performance since winning Wimbledon last month and showed that the fire burns as brightly as ever under that cool Swiss exterior.

Perhaps it was the prospect of getting one over a player who has been one of his trickiest opponents in the last 12 months that particularly motivated Federer. Since beating Murray in last year's US Open final the 28-year-old Swiss had lost four times in a row to the new world No 2, who was attempting to become only the third man after Rafael Nadal and David Nalbandian to beat him five times in succession.

Federer played superbly to inflict the first defeat on Murray since the 22-year-old Scot lost to Andy Roddick in the Wimbledon semi-finals. It was the perfect preparation for Federer in his final warm-up before the US Open, which begins in eight days' time. Federer, who today will play the winner of last night's second semi-final between Nadal and Novak Djokovic, will go to New York aiming to win the title there for the sixth year in succession.

If there was disappointment for Murray it should not overshadow what has been another superb fortnight for the Briton. Murray followed up his victory in the Masters tournament in Montreal last weekend with a run to the semi-finals here and looks in excellent shape going into his favourite Grand Slam event.

The hot and humid conditions in Cincinnati are not to every player's liking, but Murray has an excellent record in the tournament. He reached the quarter-finals in 2006, recording his first victory over Federer along the way, and won the title – his first Masters Series crown – 12 months ago, beating Djokovic in the final.

On this occasion Murray did not serve as well as he has in the recent past. In contrast Federer's serve is one of the most under-rated parts of his game and Murray, who has one of the best returns in the business, never looked likely to break him. Federer won a remarkable 52 out of 57 points on his first serve and did not have a single break point against him.

Federer has always insisted that overtaking Pete Sampras' record of 14 Grand Slam titles and completing his set of major titles with victory at the French Open would not weaken his desire. That certainly seemed to be the case here. The world No1's game bristled with aggression from the moment he hit a huge forehand winner down the line on the first point of Murray's second service game. The Swiss attacked at every opportunity and would have won the first set even more quickly had Murray not fought back from 0-40 when serving at 1-4. Two games later Murray saved the first set point against him with a forehand winner but was powerless on the second as a mishit Federer backhand clipped the line.

There were no breaks of serve in the second set as Murray, serving second, showed great resilience to force a tie-break, in which Federer took a 3-0 lead. Murray fought back and forced two set points of his own before serving a double fault when he served at 8-9. It was a disappointing way for Murray's tournament to end but he will go into the year's final Grand Slam tournament in good heart.

Meanwhile, Serena Williams's progress in the Rogers Cup in Toronto came to an abrupt halt in the semi-finals when she was beaten 7-6 6-1 by the fourth seed Elena Dementieva. Williams, seeded No 2, made a litany of unforced errors. She had dropped her serve only once in the tournament, but was broken five times yesterday.

In the other half of the draw, Alisa Kleybanova upset fifth seed Jelena Jankovic 6-7 7-6 6-2 to book a semi-final against Maria Sharapova. Jankovic said she was tired after thunderstorms delayed her match against Kim Clijsters.

News
Young Winstone: His ‘tough-guy’ image is a misconception
people
Sport
Adnan Januzaj and Gareth Bale
footballManchester United set to loan out Januzaj to make room for Bale - if a move for the Welshman firms up
Arts and Entertainment
British actor Idris Elba is also a DJ and rapper who played Ibiza last summer
filmIdris Elba responds to James Bond rumours on Twitter
Arts and Entertainment
Ellie Levenson’s The Election book demystifies politics for children
bookNew children's book primes the next generation for politics
PROMOTED VIDEO
News
Outspoken: Alexander Fury, John Rentoul, Ellen E Jones and Katy Guest
newsFrom the Scottish referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions
Arts and Entertainment
Lena Headey as Cersei Lannister in Game of Thrones
film
News
i100
Sport
Yaya Sanogo, Mats Hummels, Troy Deeney and Adnan Januzaj
footballMost Premier League sides are after a striker, but here's a full run down of the ins and outs that could happen over the next month
News
Nigel Farage celebrates with a pint after early local election results in the Hoy and Helmet pub in South Benfleet in Essex
peopleHe has shaped British politics 'for good or ill'
Sport
Tim Sherwood raises his hand after the 1-0 victory over Stoke
footballFormer Tottenham boss leads list of candidates to replace Neil Warnock
Voices
Strictly Come Dancing was watched by 6.9m viewers
voicesIt has been hard to form generally accepted cultural standards since the middle of the 19th century – and the disintegration is only going to accelerate, says DJ Taylor
Arts and Entertainment
Roffey says: 'All of us carry shame and taboo around about our sexuality. But I was determined not to let shame stop me writing my memoir.'
books
News
Danielle George is both science professor and presenter
people
News
i100
News
Caplan says of Jacobs: 'She is a very collaborative director, and gives actors a lot of freedom. She makes things happen.'
people
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

War with Isis: The West needs more than a White Knight

The West needs more than a White Knight

Despite billions spent on weapons, the US has not been able to counter Isis's gruesome tactics, says Patrick Cockburn
Return to Helmand: Private Davey Graham recalls the day he was shot by the Taliban

'The day I was shot by the Taliban'

Private Davey Graham was shot five times during an ambush in 2007 - it was the first, controversial photograph to show the dangers our soldiers faced in Helmand province
Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Many flyers are failing to claim compensation to which they are entitled, a new survey has found
The stories that defined 2014: From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions

The stories that defined 2014

From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions
Stoke-on-Trent becomes first British city to be classified as 'disaster resilient' by the United Nations

Disaster looming? Now you know where to head...

Which British city has become the first to be awarded special 'resilience' status by the UN?
Finally, a diet that works: Californian pastor's wildly popular Daniel Plan has seen his congregation greatly reduced

Finally, a diet that works

Californian pastor's wildly popular Daniel Plan has seen his congregation greatly reduced
Say it with... lyrics: The power of song was never greater, according to our internet searches

Say it with... lyrics

The power of song was never greater, according to our internet searches
Professor Danielle George: On a mission to bring back the art of 'thinkering'

The joys of 'thinkering'

Professor Danielle George on why we have to nurture tomorrow's scientists today
Monique Roffey: The author on father figures, the nation's narcissism and New Year reflections

Monique Roffey interview

The author on father figures, the nation's narcissism and New Year reflections
Introducing my anti-heroes of 2014

Introducing my anti-heroes of 2014

Their outrageousness and originality makes the world a bit more interesting, says Ellen E Jones
DJ Taylor: Good taste? It's all a matter of timing...

Good taste? It's all a matter of timing...

It has been hard to form generally accepted cultural standards since the middle of the 19th century – and the disintegration is only going to accelerate, says DJ Taylor
Olivia Jacobs & Ben Caplan: 'Ben thought the play was called 'Christian Love'. It was 'Christie in Love' - about a necrophiliac serial killer'

How we met

Olivia Jacobs and Ben Caplan
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's breakfasts will revitalise you in time for the New Year

Bill Granger's healthy breakfasts

Our chef's healthy recipes are perfect if you've overindulged during the festive season
Transfer guide: From Arsenal to West Ham - what does your club need in the January transfer window?

Who does your club need in the transfer window?

Most Premier League sides are after a striker, but here's a full run down of the ins and outs that could happen over the next month
The Last Word: From aliens at FA to yak’s milk in the Tour, here’s to 2015

Michael Calvin's Last Word

From aliens at FA to yak’s milk in the Tour, here’s to 2015