Roger Federer crushes disappointing Andy Murray

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The Independent Online

Roger Federer once again proved he has Andy Murray's number when it comes to the big matches with a crushing 6-4 6-2 victory over the home hope at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals in London this afternoon.

The British number one was bidding for a third consecutive victory over Federer, but it was one-way traffic virtually from the off at the O2 Arena as Murray searched in vain for something like his best form while his opponent gave a masterclass.

The world number two had also beaten Murray in the round-robin stage of the eight-man event last year, as well as both times they have met in grand slam finals.

Federer said: "I knew the difficulty of playing Andy, I had my hands full today so I'm surprised how clean the score was. I'm happy I'm playing so well, obviously."

Both players were enthusiastically greeted by the sizeable crowd, which again included Diego Maradona, with Federer receiving if anything a louder cheer than Murray.

Murray had come flying out of the traps in his win over Robin Soderling on Sunday, but today struggled to find a first serve and had to save a break point in the opening game.

Both players have been in good form this autumn but the Scot could draw on memories of recent successes over Federer after beating him in Masters finals in Toronto and Shanghai.

Murray had vowed to take the match to the world number two but in the early stages it was all about Federer, who swatted aside his opponent for a break to love in the third game.

The Swiss star was looking supremely confident and lost only one point in his first five service games.

At 5-4 it was now or never for Murray and he at last found some form, with a terrific forehand pass taking him to 0-30.

But Federer was not about to give up the set and he sealed it when Murray overcooked a forehand.

What Murray, and the match, desperately needed was a good start to the second set, but instead a first double fault left him facing two break points.

The 23-year-old's serve came to his rescue briefly but a couple of ill-advised drop shots kept Federer in the game and he claimed a break courtesy of a trademark off forehand that just clipped the top of the net.

The crowd had been expecting a much closer match, but the outcome was effectively decided when Murray was broken for a second successive game to trail 3-0.

The rally of the match at the start of the fourth game ended with Murray drilling a backhand winner down the line, but Federer was simply playing too well.

A dreaded bagel was on the cards when the Scot conceded two more break points in his next game, but this time he managed to fight off Federer and at least get on the scoreboard.

It was merely delaying the inevitable, though, as another netted forehand handed Federer victory and left Murray almost certainly needing to beat David Ferrer to keep alive his chances of a semi-final spot.

At the end of the match, there was an on-court presentation for Rafael Nadal, who picked up trophies marking his status as the year-end world number one as well as the Stefan Edberg Sportsmanship Award, which is voted for by the players.