No way for Federer to avoid Murray juggernaut

World No 1 swept aside on a historic weekend for British tennis

Shanghai

Not even the roof could save Roger Federer this time. Three months after the mid-match closure of Centre Court's retractable cover helped to turn the Wimbledon final in favour of the Swiss, the roof here at the Qi Zhong Tennis Centre was shut during last night's Shanghai Masters semi-final as Andy Murray was about to serve for victory. On this occasion, however, the Scot needed just five points to complete a 6-4 6-4 victory after a 35-minute rain break.

Today will be an historic day for British tennis, which is enjoying a remarkable revival. While Murray, the first British male Grand Slam singles champion for 76 years, will take on Novak Djokovic in a repeat of last month's US Open final, 850 miles across the East China Sea Heather Watson was appearing this morning in her first Women's Tennis Association final.

Just three weeks after Laura Robson became the first Briton to appear in a WTA final for 22 years, Watson was meeting Kai-Chen Chang, of Chinese Taipei, in the final of the Japan Open in Osaka. Watson was also going for her third doubles title of the year, partnering the Japanese veteran, Kimiko Date-Krumm, against the Americans Raquel Kops-Jones and Abigail Spears.

Twenty-four hours after Murray struggled to overcome Radek Stepanek, the world No 3 played superbly to beat the greatest player in history. Federer has often brought the best out of Murray, who has won 10 of their 18 meetings and avenged his Wimbledon defeat by beating the Swiss in the Olympic final. Rarely, however, has the Scot outplayed him with such a measured display of attacking tennis.

From the moment he broke Federer in the opening game Murray went on the attack. The world No 1, who had the overwhelming support of a packed and boisterous crowd, struggled with his serve throughout – he was broken again in the fifth game of the first set after three successive double faults – but much of that was down to the pressure applied by Murray's returns. On Federer's second serves the Scot repeatedly stepped inside the baseline to bludgeon huge winning shots.

In the second set Federer saved seven break points in the opening game, during which there was an 11-minute delay for rain, but at 2-2 Murray broke again, winning the last four points with thunderous forehands. Murray was about to serve at 5-4 when rain started falling again. This time the players had to leave the court as the retractable cover – a beautiful eight-section structure in the shape of a magnolia flower – was closed, but when they returned Murray wasted no time securing victory. He is undefeated in three appearances at this tournament, having won the title in both 2010 and last year, and has beaten Federer in all three of their meetings here.

"I went for it like I did the last few times I played against him and it worked tonight," Murray said. "He didn't serve that well for him, so I was able to be very aggressive on his second serve. He maybe slowed down his first serve a little bit, so I was able to take a few more chances on the first serve."

Thirty-four days after Murray beat Djokovic in the US Open final, the 25-year-olds will renew a rivalry that goes back to their first meeting at an under-12s tournament. Djokovic, who beat Tomas Berdych 6-3, 6-4 yesterday, has won eight of their 15 meetings as senior professionals, but Murray has won seven of the last 11.

"He's a bit more aggressive," Djokovic said when asked about Murray's improvement this year. "He goes more for his forehand, which wasn't his strength in the past. He's improved that stroke this year and he's more confident on the court, has more self-belief."

Colin Fleming and Ross Hutchins, playing in their first Masters Series semi-final, were beaten 6-7 6-3 10-8 by India's Mahesh Bhupathi and Rohan Bopanna. The Britons can still qualify for the doubles competition at the Beardless ATP World Tour Finals but will need good results in their next three tournaments in Stockholm, Valencia and Paris.

Watson reached the Osaka final by beating Japan's Misaki Doi 7-6 7-5. The 20-year-old from Guernsey, ranked No 71 in the world, is likely to climb about 20 places in the world rankings if she wins the final and 15 if she loses.

News
newsGlobal index has ranked the quality of life for OAPs - but the UK didn't even make it into the top 10
Arts and Entertainment
Swiss guards stand in the Sistine Chapel, which is to be lit, and protected, by 7,000 LEDs
art

The Sistine Chapel is set to be illuminated with thousands of LEDs

News
people
News
people
PROMOTED VIDEO
News
peopleStella McCartney apologises over controversial Instagram picture
News
Gillian Anderson was paid less than her male co-star David Duchovny for three years while she was in the The X-Files until she protested and was given the same salary
people

Gillian Anderson lays into gender disparity in Hollywood

Life and Style
Laid bare: the Good2Go app ensures people have a chance to make their intentions clear about having sex
techCould Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?
Arts and Entertainment
Richard Burr remains the baker to beat on the Great British Bake Off
tvRichard remains the baker to beat as Chetna begins to flake
News
i100
Sport
footballArsenal 4 Galatasaray 1: Wenger celebrates 18th anniversary in style
Arts and Entertainment
Amazon has added a cautionary warning to Tom and Jerry cartoons on its streaming service
tv
News
people
News
The village was originally named Llansanffraid-ym-Mechain after the Celtic female Saint Brigit, but the name was changed 150 years ago to Llansantffraid – a decision which suggests the incorrect gender of the saint
newsA Welsh town has changed its name - and a prize if you can notice how
Arts and Entertainment
Kristen Scott Thomas in Electra at the Old Vic
theatreReview: Kristin Scott Thomas is magnificent in a five-star performance of ‘Electra’
Life and Style
Couples who boast about their relationship have been condemned as the most annoying Facebook users
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Hayley Williams performs with Paramore in New York
musicParamore singer says 'Steal Your Girl' is itself stolen from a New Found Glory hit
News
i100
Sport
Ronaldinho signs the t-shirt of a pitch invader
footballProof they are getting bolder
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.

Italian couples fake UK divorce scam on an ‘industrial scale’

Welcome to Maidenhead, the divorce capital of... Italy

A look at the the legal tourists who exploited our liberal dissolution rules
Tom and Jerry cartoons now carry a 'racial prejudice' warning on Amazon

Tom and Jerry cartoons now carry a 'racial prejudice' warning on Amazon

The vintage series has often been criticised for racial stereotyping
An app for the amorous: Could Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?

An app for the amorous

Could Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?
Llansanffraid is now Llansantffraid. Welsh town changes its name, but can you spot the difference?

Llansanffraid is now Llansantffraid

Welsh town changes its name, but can you spot the difference?
Charlotte Riley: At the peak of her powers

Charlotte Riley: At the peak of her powers

After a few early missteps with Chekhov, her acting career has taken her to Hollywood. Next up is a role in the BBC’s gangster drama ‘Peaky Blinders’
She's having a laugh: Britain's female comedians have never had it so good

She's having a laugh

Britain's female comedians have never had it so good, says stand-up Natalie Haynes
Sistine Chapel to ‘sing’ with new LED lights designed to bring Michelangelo’s masterpiece out of the shadows

Let there be light

Sistine Chapel to ‘sing’ with new LEDs designed to bring Michelangelo’s masterpiece out of the shadows
Great British Bake Off, semi-final, review: Richard remains the baker to beat

Tensions rise in Bake Off's pastry week

Richard remains the baker to beat as Chetna begins to flake
Paris Fashion Week, spring/summer 2015: Time travel fashion at Louis Vuitton in Paris

A look to the future

It's time travel fashion at Louis Vuitton in Paris
The 10 best bedspreads

The 10 best bedspreads

Before you up the tog count on your duvet, add an extra layer and a room-changing piece to your bed this autumn
Arsenal vs Galatasaray: Five things we learnt from the Emirates

Arsenal vs Galatasaray

Five things we learnt from the Gunners' Champions League victory at the Emirates
Stuart Lancaster’s long-term deal makes sense – a rarity for a decision taken by the RFU

Lancaster’s long-term deal makes sense – a rarity for a decision taken by the RFU

This deal gives England a head-start to prepare for 2019 World Cup, says Chris Hewett
Ebola outbreak: The children orphaned by the virus – then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection

The children orphaned by Ebola...

... then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection
Pride: Are censors pandering to homophobia?

Are censors pandering to homophobia?

US film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence
The magic of roundabouts

Lords of the rings

Just who are the Roundabout Appreciation Society?