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Old 10-19-2008, 06:54 PM   #151
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http://www.guardian.co.uk/sport/2008...madrid-masters


Masterful Murray sweeps to Madrid title

• British No1 claims second successive Masters Series crown
• Second-set fightback amounts to nothing for resilient Simon


guardian.co.uk, Sunday October 19 2008 16.51 BST


Having announced his arrival at the game's top table by reaching last month's US Open final, Andy Murray looks intent on becoming tennis's toastmaster-in-chief. Recent weeks have yielded a first grand slam final appearance, wins over the world's three best players in Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic, and, with today's 6-4, 7-6 (8-6) Madrid Masters victory over Frenchman Gilles Simon, a second successive Masters Series title following his victory in Cincinnati last month.

If the precedent set by Nadal is anything to go by, the last of those achievements may yet prove the most significant. In 2005, the Spaniard announced his arrival at the highest level with successive Masters Series wins in Monte Carlo and Rome. His subsequent achievements – four consecutive French Open titles, victory over Federer in one of the most memorable Wimbledon finals in history, and the No1 ranking - speak for themselves.

Can Murray scale similar heights? Before his run to last month's US Open final, the very question might have been deemed spurious. Victory over Simon, an opponent ranked 16 in the world and making his first appearance in a Masters Series final, hardly provides the firmest ground on which to base any wider conclusions, but there can be no doubt the 21-year-old Scot is beginning to look the real deal.

Murray's win, his eighteenth in 20 matches, was achieved with minimal fuss. He broke in the fifth game, forcing a groundstroke error after pulling Simon out of position with a finely-judged lob, and remained untroubled on serve for the remainder of the set, which he sealed with the fourth of 11 aces. Simon's best hope at that stage seemed to lie in Murray suffering a calamitous letdown after yesterday's impressive three-set felling of Federer. No chance. Despite improving markedly in the second set, Simon was unable to fashion a single break point opportunity on the Scot's serve. He somehow conjured two set points in the inevitable tiebreak that followed, but Murray hung on tenaciously, clawing back the deficit before firing an unstoppable backhand winner to bring up a match point that was converted at the first attempt.

In the end it was one match too many for Simon, who, having come through four final-set tiebreaks and saved six match points en route to the final, may be safely said to have earned every cent of his 189,000 euro runner's-up cheque. The suspicion that yesterday's three hour, 22 minute epic against Nadal had drained the Frenchman's formidable reserves was apparently confirmed by some over-zealous opening of the shoulders midway through the first set, a strategy that brought a couple of spectacular winners but also earned Murray several cheap points. Yet the second set, in which Simon remained competitive until the final point, provided further testament to his astounding resilience.

His hopes of claiming a fourth title of the year were dashed, but Simon can look back with satisfaction on a week that brought not only a win over Nadal in his own backyard but also the French No1 ranking. Should he replicate that form in the coming weeks, he may yet gatecrash the Masters Cup. For Murray, there are no such worries. He has already booked his place at the eight man end-of-season finale – and will feel thoroughly, and justifiably, at home among the elite.
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Old 10-19-2008, 07:16 PM   #152
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http://www.independent.co.uk/sport/t...te-966049.html


Murray masters Federer to join elite

Ferocious serving helps Scot reach Madrid final and gain some revenge for US Open defeat by Swiss

By Paul Newman in Madrid
Sunday, 19 October 2008


Perhaps Andy Murray should try taking a break more often. The 21-year-old Scot had played only two matches in the previous five weeks when he arrived here at the Madrid Masters, but yesterday his burgeoning form of the last few days lifted him to a splendid 3-6 6-3 7-5 semi-final victory over Roger Federer. In the second Masters Series final of his career, Murray today faces France's Gilles Simon, who will be playing in his first after shocking the local favourite and world No 1, Rafael Nadal, in a marathon that lasted almost three and a half hours.

Murray's year just gets better and better. In August he won his first Masters Series title, beating Novak Djokovic in Cincinnati, and last month he reached his first Grand Slam final, losing to Federer in straight sets at the US Open after grossly unfair scheduling left the world No 4 with comparatively little time to prepare for the match. Over the last week, feeling refreshed after his mid-season break either side of Britain's Davis Cup tie against Austria, Murray has confirmed his arrival among an elite group of four who are pulling away from the rest. At this rate Djokovic, the world No 3, will soon feel Murray breathing down his neck.

Federer may have slipped from his previous heights, having lost his Wimbledon title and world No 1 ranking to Nadal this summer, but he remains the most prized of scalps. Murray, who has now beaten the Swiss in three of their five meetings, and Nadal are the most notable of a select group of men who have won more matches against him than they have lost.

A full house in the 9,300-capacity Madrid Arena, perhaps hoping for another instalment in the Federer-Nadal saga in today's final, were clearly on the former world No 1's side, though they were always ready to acknowledge Murray's excellence in a high-quality encounter. A seven-piece brass band played at every changeover, adding to the sense of occasion.

The thinner air of the Spanish capital – Madrid is 2,100 feet above sea level – and the lightning-fast courts put a premium on serving. Federer had the better first-serve percentage but hit only half as many aces as Murray, whose total of 14 included a 141mph thunderbolt that was the fastest he has ever struck in competition.

Federer broke serve in the sixth game to take the first set. Murray forced only one break point as the Swiss, who attacks at every opportunity, regularly punished the shorter and softer shots that usually flummox the Scot's opponents. In the second set, however, Murray played with more aggression, breaking serve in the fourth game with a series of fine returns. As Murray upped the pace, hitting some cracking winners, errors increasingly crept into Federer's game.

Federer had only three break points all match (Murray had nine). After the US Open champion had failed to take the last of them in the second game of the deciding set, Murray served out of his skin, winning 11 points in a row on serve. Federer, showing great resilience, saved three break points from 0-40 down at 1-1. When the Swiss took a 4-3 lead, the band broke into "Star Wars", but by the end of the 11th game of the set Federer was probably pondering on the appropriateness of their rendition of "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction", Murray having converted his ninth break point thanks to a pummelled backhand down the line.

In the following game Murray's superb inside-out forehand cross-court winner created match point, which was converted when Federer put a backhand in the net. "I served huge," Murray said afterwards. "The second serve was also very good. In comparison to the chances I had on his serve, he had very few chances on mine."

Federer said he could see similarities with his own career in the way that the Scot has matured as a player this year. "I always knew from the first moment I saw him play in Bangkok [three years ago] that he'd be in the top 10 pretty soon, provided he didn't screw things up," Federer said. "I think first he had to grow up a little bit, become a man. He's taken that step well."

Simon continued his remarkable week with a 3-6 7-5 7-6 victory over Nadal, who has been troubled this week by a sore shoulder. The world No 16 had to save four match points against Igor Andreev in the first round and two against Robby Ginepri in the third. All five of his matches here have gone to three sets and four have been decided by tie-breaks. Murray, who is attempting to become the first Briton ever to win four ATP titles in a season, lost to Simon in Rome last year but beat him in Hamburg five months ago.
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Old 10-25-2008, 08:18 PM   #153
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http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/ten...en-Tennis.html


Andy Murray sweeps Fernando Verdasco aside to reach final of St Petersburg Open

Defending champion Andy Murray breezed into the final of the St Petersburg Open with a 6-0, 6-3 victory over Spaniard Fernando Verdasco.

By Clive White
Last Updated: 6:30PM BST 25 Oct 2008



On a roll: Fernando Verdasco is no match for Andy Murray in the St Petersburg Open semi-final Photo: EPA


No one need to tell Fernando Verdasco how far Andy Murray has come in the game in a relatively short space of time. Five years ago the Madrileño beat the Scot fairly conclusively in a small event in Segovia, Spain - but then Murray was barely 16 years of age at the time.

Since then, as Roger Federer put it last week, the boy has become a man, maturing into one of the most formidable players in the world today.

In the semi-finals of the St Petersburg Open he avenged that defeat to the Spaniard for a fourth time to give himself a great chance of winning his fifth title of the year.

The ridiculous ease of the defending champion's win over the world No16 - by 6-0, 6-3 - was further indication of how rapidly his game is progressing.

Although he beat Verdasco in last year's final here comfortably enough their subsequent meeting in Dubai was close; this wasn't even a contest for the most part. And, of course, last week at the Madrid Masters, he avenged his defeat to Federer in the US Open final in September.

Many expected him to take his foot off the throttle in Russia, what with the Paris Masters and, more importantly, the Masters Cup in Shanghai coming up in the next three weeks. But clearly the young Scot is of the opinion that success breeds success and there has been no let-up in his performance this week and he goes into today's final not having dropped a set here and unbeaten in 11 matches.

The world No 4 is a keen student of the game who usually knows all there is to know about the opposition. But even his knowledge will be tested today by Andrey Golubev. Ranked 150 in the world, Golubev must be as much of a mystery to his fellow Kazakhstanis as Borat is.

He had only played two matches at ATP level before arriving in St Petersburg, but he was an emphatic winner of the other semi-final, beating the recently revitalized Romanian Victor Hanescu 6-3, 6-0 in 54 minutes, which was even 20 minutes quicker than Murray could manage.

Verdasco felt confidence would be the key to a better performance this time, but that was soon shattered with a pair of double faults in each of his opening two service games, the second of which he was broken to love. A third consecutive break sealed the set in just 26 minutes.

When Verdasco was broken for a fourth consecutive time in the second set a double bagel loomed ominously. But he spiritedly broke straight back.

Six months ago that could have triggered a sudden collapse by the Dunblane boy or at least an unsettling moment or two of rage. Now there is a calmness about him, which is probably not unrelated to his improved physical condition, and he patiently waited for another opportunity to present itself, which it duly did in the eighth game with a decisive break this time.

Before last week no British player since Mark Cox in 1975 had won more than three titles in a year. All of sudden Murray is poised to win a fifth and the way he is playing it may not end there.

He has a tough draw in Paris this week, however, where after a first-round bye he faces either Marcos Baghdatis or Sam Querrey in the second round. The Argentines, David Nalbandian or Juan-Martin Del Potro - the elder saw off the young buck's challenge 6-4, 6-4 in Basel - lie in wait as does his old rival Nadal in the last four - encouragement enough for Murray to keep that run going.
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Old 10-28-2008, 10:44 AM   #154
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http://www.guardian.co.uk/sport/2008...nis-andymurray


Hamburgers and slam dreams all round as hot Murray cruises to a cool million

British No1 claims second ATP title in eight days

Steve Bierley The Guardian, Monday October 27 2008



Andy Murray poses with the trophy after winning the St Petersburg Open. Photograph: Anatoly Maltsen/EPA


It was as easy as walking in the Russian forests and picking mushrooms. Andy Murray claimed his second ATP title within eight days by defeating Andrey Golubev, a Kazakhstani qualifier, 6-1, 6-1 inside an hour in the St Petersburg Open final yesterday for his fifth tournament win of the year and eighth in total. The last British player to win back-to-back titles at tour level was Mark Cox in 1975 and at this rate Murray will quickly overhaul Tim Henman's 11 career titles and Greg Rusedski's 15.

He marked the occasion by taking Team Murray out for hamburgers. "I've had the best year of my life - I don't feel unbeatable but I do feel very motivated and confident," he said. "My preparations have been right, I've got the right people around me and I can relax off the court and focus when I am on it."

Having just collected slightly over $1m for a week's work, Murray revealed he has splashed out on a new Range Rover Sport - though his long-standing girlfriend Kim Sears is in the driving seat, as he has yet to pass his driving test.

The 21-year-old Scot is finishing the year with a quite extraordinary flourish, winning the Masters Series events in Cincinnati and Madrid, and finishing runner-up to Roger Federer in the US Open. He is due to play in the Paris Indoor Masters this week and will then fly to Shanghai for the lucrative end-of-season Tennis Masters Cup, a tournament restricted to the world's top eight players which will shift its roots to London next year. Henman and Rusedski both played in the TMC, Henman reaching the semi-finals a decade ago in Hannover. If his current form holds up it is entirely possible Murray might win it.

He now has a career-best 53-14 win-loss match record this year (15-1 indoors), and excluding his early defeat in the Olympic Games has won 26 of his last 28 matches, including two in the Davis Cup, since he lost to Rafael Nadal in the quarter-finals at Wimbledon.

This is the same Murray whose stamina was regularly called into question as recently as early this year. He has answered his critics in the best way, achieving recent victories over the three players currently ahead of him in the rankings - Nadal, Federer and Serbia's Novak Djokovic.

Murray won the St Petersburg title last year but this time, coming on the back of his Madrid Masters victory the Sunday before, there seemed a real danger that the British world No4 might come up short because of tiredness. This was to underestimate the mental fortitude of the Scot, as well as the punishing, muscle-burning training he has incorporated into his regime this year, always pushing himself that extra yard. His one tough match here in Russia came in Friday's quarter-final against Serbia's Janko Tipsarevic which Murray, the top seed, won 7-6, 7-5 in two hours.

In Saturday's semi-final he defeated Spain's Fernando Verdasco 6-0, 6-3, and yesterday Golubev was similarly brushed aside, only managing to hold his serve twice as Murray claimed the first prize, a somewhat more lucrative amount than last year given the recent dive of the pound against the dollar. Golubev, the same age as Murray but ranked No150, had reached his first ATP final with a 6-3, 6-0 victory over the Romanian Victor Hanescu. The 21-year-old Golubev, who is based in Italy, changed his nationality in June from Russian to Kazakhstani so that he could compete in the Davis Cup for his new country. This was his sixth career ATP tournament and he has had to qualify each time.

Murray hardly needs to be reminded that the last Briton to win a grand slam title was Fred Perry in 1936, but he has his plans. "The whole reason I took five weeks off after the US Open was so that I could rest and recover and get myself in shape for these tournaments at the end of the year," he explained yesterday. "I don't take anything for granted and although I hope I am getting closer to a grand slam win it does take a bit of luck. It's the hardest thing in the world to do in tennis. Better players than me have gone through their whole careers without ever winning one."

These remain early days for Murray, though. In Basel yesterday Federer defeated Argentina's David Nalbandian 6-3, 6-4 for his 57th career title, including 13 slams.
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Old 10-28-2008, 10:53 AM   #155
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http://www.independent.co.uk/sport/t...ee-975468.html

Murray ready for long haul to close gap on top three

By Steve Douglas in Paris
Tuesday, 28 October 2008


Andy Murray may be in the form of his life but he knows he has plenty of work to do to close the gap on the three players ahead of him in the world rankings.

The Scot claimed his fifth title of 2008 on Sunday by dismissing Kazakhstan's Andrey Golubev in straight sets to retain his St Petersburg Open crown with some ease.

Prior to the event in Russia, Murray won back-to-back Masters Series titles – in Cincinnati and Madrid – and reached the US Open final in between.

The 21-year-old has consolidated his fourth place in the ATP rankings but he is some distance away from usurping Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic, the world's top three. And despite his stunning run of recent results, Murray insists he is far from the finished article.

"Nadal, Federer and Djokovic have all had great years," he said. "Federer could end up as the greatest player ever and Nadal may follow in his footsteps. If I play well I will move up the rankings, but these guys are still a long way ahead of me."

Murray is arguably the man to beat heading into this week's Paris Masters and received a bye into the second round, in which he will play the American Sam Querrey. Unlike a number of other players arriving here, the pressure is off Murray in terms of gaining the necessary points to finish in the top eight in the ATP race to qualify for next month's Masters Cup.

Murray has his sights set on ending 2008 on a successful note in China. "I can win it, but I am not the favourite by any means," he said. "Winning it would be a great Christmas present and a fantastic way to end the year."
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Old 11-01-2008, 01:40 PM   #156
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http://www.independent.co.uk/sport/t...an-981799.html

Murray's winning streak is halted by superb Nalbandian

By Paul Newman in Paris
Saturday, 1 November 2008


All winning sequences have to finish somewhere and the consolation for Andy Murray was that his 14-match run of victories was ended here yesterday by an opponent at the very top of his game. David Nalbandian, who remains the only current top 10 player the 21-year-old Scot has never beaten, played superbly to win their Paris Masters quarter-final 7-6, 6-3, ending Murray's hopes of winning his third tournament in succession and becoming the first man to take three successive Masters titles.

The world No 4 was in good company in making an early exit from the French capital. Roger Federer, who has a back injury, pulled out before his quarter-final against James Blake, while Rafael Nadal retired with a knee problem after losing the first set to Nikolay Davydenko.

Of the two, Nadal sounded the more pessimistic about his chances of recovering before the season-ending Tennis Masters Cup in Shanghai, which will also be Murray's final port of call. Given his recent demanding schedule, the British No 1 should benefit from an extra two days' rest and preparation before the start of the tournament next Sunday.

Since the end of May, Murray has made the quarter-finals and final of two Grand Slam tournaments (Wimbledon and the US Open), won two Masters crowns (Cincinnati and Madrid), reached the quarter-finals and semi-finals of two more Masters events (Paris and Toronto) and won the title in St Petersburg.

Murray had dropped only one set in his previous 13 matches (against Federer in the Madrid semi-finals), but in Nalbandian he met a player who is one of the modern game's great enigmas. Supremely talented, the 26-year-old Argentinian can be a match for anybody – he has beaten Federer eight times and is undefeated against Nadal – but there are regularly question marks over his fitness and commitment. The world No 8, who will have to retain his title here in order to make the plane to Shanghai, had had an indifferent year until he embarked earlier this month on what has become a traditional autumn surge by winning in Stockholm and reaching the final in Basel.

His game is not dissimilar to Murray's. Nalbandian can crack the ball with great power on both flanks and is smart tactically, surprising his opponents with cleverly disguised drop shots and changes of direction. His anticipation is excellent and he is a deceptively fast mover.

Early breaks were exchanged in the first set, but Murray did not serve quite as well as he has recently and Nalbandian's returns frequently had him in trouble. The Argentinian never trailed in the tie-break, which he won 7-3, and broke Murray four times in the second set.

"I'm obviously disappointed to lose, but I'm glad that I played against a guy as good as him and that he had to play a great match to beat me," Murray said afterwards. "I thought both of us hit the ball well. He probably returned better than me and created a few more chances."

He added: "I don't think there are many guys that would have won three weeks in a row. To have done that would have been an unbelievable achievement. Since Wimbledon I've played the best tennis of my life and hopefully I can keep it going."
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Old 11-01-2008, 06:27 PM   #157
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Old 11-05-2008, 08:13 PM   #158
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Page last updated at 11:59 GMT, Wednesday, 5 November 2008

Murray reflects on a great 2008

http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport2/hi/tennis/7710763.stm

Andy Murray looks back on 2008, and is delighted with his successes, but insists he must continue to improve on his performance on grass and clay courts.
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Old 11-08-2008, 04:31 AM   #159
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http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/ten...an-Tennis.html


Ambitious Andy Murray uses Masters Cup to launch his grand slam plan

In reaching the Masters Cup in Shanghai Andy Murray is able to tick another achievement off his tennis to-do list.

By Mark Hodgkinson in Shanghai
Last Updated: 8:14PM GMT 07 Nov 2008


But his main ambition has always been to win a grand slam, something that no British male has managed since Fred Perry was the 1936 US Open champion. And if he does that, he said he would then try to become Britain's first ever world No 1.

The Masters Cup at Shanghai's Qi Zhong Stadium must be the only international sporting event where the organisers are eager to let you know about the competitors' horoscopes, and so Andy Murray, as he was born in the Chinese year of the rabbit, is introduced as being tactful, sensitive, well-mannered, modest and hospitable. Here's hoping that, when the Masters comes to London next year, play won't start until Britain's astrologers have had their say on Murray and the rest.

Murray would take most of those 'rabbit' characteristics. But one obvious omission from that list of adjectives for Murray is 'ambitious'. Murray without his ambition would be like modern Shanghai without the traffic and the skyscrapers that look as though the local architects have a Blade Runner obsession. When the year began, Murray was determined that he would qualify for Shanghai, for a tournament reserved for the best eight players in the world and considered to be the most prestigious event after the four grand slams. And Murray has done just that, earning his first invite to the Masters, and if he needed any further confirmation that he has arrived in the true elite of men's tennis then it came in his hotel room when he noticed that his name was on his pillowcase.

But discovering that he is a rabbit', and that he has personalised bed-linen, are nothing next to the thrill of his involvement at the magnolia flower-shaped stadium, where the round-robin matches start tomorrow, with Murray to play his opening contest in the Red Group against American Andy Roddick on Monday.

This has been the year when Murray finished as the runner-up at the US Open to Roger Federer, and won five titles, which is a record for a Briton in the professional era. This has also been the season when Murray has turned into a man, according to Federer, the defending champion and the wise old beard of the locker-room, who has spent some of his time here this week taking a razor to his face on stage as he "encouraged 1,000 students to shave their beards at a ceremony to mark their adulthood". The clean-shaven Swiss is also in the Red Group, along with France's Gilles Simon.

Some casual sports fans in Britain, those who would not know a Henin from a Henman, don't quite understand the true significance of the lucrative Masters Cup. But Murray is hoping that greater numbers will get the event next year. "For the players, the Masters Cup is huge, but some of those outside tennis don't know too much about it, which is a shame, but I can understand as it's a long season and there's a lot to follow. Next year, it should be easier to follow, as it will be in London," Murray said.

"It's a huge achievement to qualify. The competition itself isn't as big as a grand slam, that's for sure, but getting there is a recognition that you've had a great year and not just a great couple of months.

"It shows that you have been consistent over the year," said Murray, who wants to take on the best in Shanghai, and that was why he wasn't pleased when Rafael Nadal, the world No 1, pulled out because of fatigue and a knee injury.

Murray has had a fabulous autumn, as he was on a 14-match unbeaten streak before losing to David Nalbandian at last week's tournament in Paris. No wonder his sponsors, such as Highland Spring, have been delighted by his progress.

"I've only lost a handful of matches since Wimbledon. I've played at a level that has meant that I've picked up more ranking points than anyone else on the tour since Wimbledon. So it hasn't been a one-off tournament – I've been very consistent," said Murray. "I'm just able to focus, and play hard for the whole match. I'm maybe a more aggressive player than I was at the start of the year."

So now Murray can tick the Masters Cup off his tennis to-do list. But his main ambition has always been to win a grand slam, something that no British male has managed since Fred Perry was the 1936 US Open champion. And if he does that, he said he would then try to become Britain's first ever world No 1.

"I don't think it's possible right now for me to become world No 1, as Nadal and Federer are much better across the surfaces than I am. I need to improve my clay-court game and my grass-court game. I think on hard courts, I'm not that far behind, but I think, on the other surfaces, I've got a lot of work to do. It's not my ambition right now to be the world No 1. I want to try to win a grand slam, and if I can do that then I'll go after the No 1 ranking," said Murray, the ambitious 'rabbit' of men's tennis.
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Old 11-08-2008, 08:56 AM   #160
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There is an article about him in the new Deuce too:
http://www.atptennis.com/5/en/deuce/...008/murray.asp
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Old 11-08-2008, 09:52 AM   #161
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Truc View Post
There is an article about him in the new Deuce too:
http://www.atptennis.com/5/en/deuce/...008/murray.asp
Thanks, this is a good article.
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Old 11-10-2008, 10:18 PM   #162
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http://thescotsman.scotsman.com/spor...-in.4678259.jp

Andy Murray defeats Roddick in Masters Cup

Published Date: 10 November 2008

BRITISH number one Andy Murray made a stunning start to his maiden Masters Cup appearance in Shanghai today beating American opponent Andy Roddick 6-4, 1-6, 6-1.

World number four Murray earned his trip to the season-ending showpiece following his best year on the ATP Tour which saw the Scot claim four titles, including back-to-back Masters Series titles in Cincinnati and Madrid.

The 21-year-old headed into the red group meeting with a 4-2 record against the world number six, although Roddick was forced to retire during last year's meeting at the Miami Masters.

Murray and Roddick traded service games at the start of the opening set, with the Scot taking the fourth with back-to-back aces before the British number one converted his first break-point opportunity on Roddick's serve to take a 3-2 lead.

He made the breakthrough count in the next game as Murray recovered from falling behind to double his lead, which he capped off with his sixth ace in three service games while big-hitting Roddick had claimed just one.

The American sits second behind Croatia's Ivo Karlovic this year in terms of aces after averaging over 14 per match in 61 outings this year.

Murray moved 15-30 ahead in the ninth game but, after he sent a return long, Roddick fired in his second ace before holding out.

But Murray wrapped up the first set in 41 minutes as Roddick sent a return long.

Murray survived two break points at 0-1 at the start of the second set the second saved courtesy of an expert passing shot with Roddick in at the net.

But Roddick persisted and took a 2-0 lead at his next opportunity as Murray sent an attempted lob sailing over the American's head.

He lost his first challenge during the third game as Roddick opened up a 3-0 lead before an increasingly frustrated Murray shipped a second consecutive break of serve as a string of errors culminated in him firing the first break point of the game into the net.

Roddick eased through the fifth game to love before the Scot finally got on the board at 1-5.

But that only delayed the inevitable as, after just 29 minutes, Murray sent a forehand return long to send the contest to a decider.

While Murray looked bemused and frustrated at times, Roddick significantly raised his game in the second set and dropped just two points on his first serve.

Murray's first ace since the opening set, which was successfully challenged by the Scot, handed him a 1-0 lead to start to the third set.

Roddick survived two break points at the start of the second game through his third ace and a serve and volley but he was unable to stop Murray converting a third to take a 2-0 lead following a fierce return.

Murray had clearly put the second set collapse behind him as he raced into a 3-0 lead of his own by wrapping up the third game and made it 4-0 inside 17 minutes of the set starting.

Murray was beginning to enjoy himself as the odd fist pump started to appear as he sent the crowd streaming to the exit's after holding serve to open up a 5-0 lead.

Like Murray in the previous set, Roddick got on the board in the sixth game, but Murray served out the set to seal the win.

Murray was satisfied with his performance, particularly because he is suffering from jet-lag – but warns he does not see himself as the new favourite to win the event, even if some observers do.

"Everybody is playing very well, and I'll have to play my best in every match if I want to win," he told Sky Sports 1.

"I don't view myself as being favourite.

"I have struggled a little bit. It is tough to get over the jet-lag, and I hope I feel a bit better for the next match."

In those circumstances, his comfortable victory was encouraging.

"He made it tough for me and made me do a lot of running," Murray added.

"In the first set I thought I played pretty well.

"In the second, I had a chance in the first game to break him. But then he started to play more aggressively; in the third, I felt I was playing better – but it was tough on a very slow court."
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Old 11-13-2008, 04:08 PM   #163
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http://www.independent.co.uk/sport/t...t-1014330.html

Murray seals Masters semi-final spot

From Andrew Mullen, PA, Shanghai
Wednesday, 12 November 2008


British number one Andy Murray secured a maiden Masters Cup semi-final berth after breezing to a 6-4 6-2 win over world number nine Gilles Simon in Shanghai today.

Making his first appearance at the season-ending eight-man tournament, world number four Murray followed up his opening win over American Andy Roddick to advance to the last four with a match to spare after producing an impressive display at Qi Zhong Tennis Stadium.

After shocking two-time defending champion Roger Federer on his Masters Cup debut on Monday, Simon still has a chance to advance from the red group, which now also contains world number 27 Radek Stepanek after Roddick was forced to withdraw with an ankle injury.

Murray raced out of the blocks and broke Simon twice at the start of the match and, after surviving a resurgence from the Frenchman, who he beat to win the Madrid Masters, battled to win the first set.

But unlike the second-set collapse witnessed against Roddick, Murray completely dominated against Simon and raced to the finish line.

Murray made a great start, breaking Simon in the first game as the Frenchman dumped a backhand into the net and, after double-faulting on game point and surviving two break points, the Scot eventually opened up a 2-0 lead, with the first two games lasting 15 minutes.

A quick break of the Simon serve in the next game handed Murray a 3-0 lead after the Frenchman sent a seemingly-regulation volley into the net.

Murray continued to dominate and easily claimed the fourth game following a string of errors from Simon before the Frenchman finally got on the board as Murray wasted two break points after sending a volley just long and Simon pulled out a crucial big serve.

Simon grabbed a break back as Murray smashed an overhead into the net at game point - which brought cheers from the crowd, who were fearing a rout - before holding to briefly pull within a game.

Murray's mid-set wobble and Simon's resurgence continued as the Scot battled to stave off two break points, the second saved following his first ace of the match, before finally taking a thrilling eighth game.

And at his first opportunity, Murray claimed the first set as Simon dumped a forehand into the net.

Murray imploded in the second set of his opening-round win over Roddick, and was forced to battle through his first service game of the second set as Simon threatened with three break points.

But each time he came undone at the crucial moment with several rash errors, which had seen him convert only one break point out of eight.

Murray's third break of the match followed as Simon sent three wayward forehands wide before a straightforward service game handed Murray a 3-1 lead.

Simon continued to ship errors as Murray again broke the Frenchman's serve at the third time of asking.

With the match on the line at 5-1, Simon held, but it only delayed the inevitable as Murray sealed victory in one hour and 33 minutes.


Murray was confident in his game plan despite Simon's impressive comeback in the middle of the opening set.

"He's tough," the British number one told Sky Sports. "I just had to try and stay focused at the end of the first set.

"I had a chance to go 5-0 up and I didn't take it, and he got some confidence after that. But I knew I had to keep making him move, and eventually he started to break down.

"He made some mistakes in the second set and I capitalised."

Murray revealed he felt added pressure today following the withdrawal of Roddick and Stepanek's elevation into the group.

"Stepanek's turned up without his own racquets, he borrowed some socks off me earlier and he hasn't got his contact lenses either," said Murray.

"So I knew I had to win the match because I can't see him winning too many games. I was a bit nervous because I knew I had to come through."

The Scot knows he will be in the semi-finals irrespective of his result against Federer on Friday, but another win against the 13-time grand slam champion is not to be sniffed at.

"Obviously, I want to try to win the match," added Murray. "To beat Federer is always a great achievement."
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Old 11-15-2008, 02:55 AM   #164
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I wrote the following article about Murray's match against Federer yesterday.

Murray sends Federer packing before the semi-finals in Shanghai

Yesterday, Roger Federer and Andy Murray clashed in the final match in the round robin stages of the Masters Cup in Shanghai. Leading into the match, Murray had already secured his spot into the semi-finals, while Federer needed to defeat Murray in order to advance further. Federer had never failed to make it into the semi-finals stage on five previous occasions at the Masters Cup, but that record was in threat against Murray, who has been the most in-form player of the last three months. In the end, Federer came up short, but his performance was more worthy of praise than criticism, in a high quality match where he displayed superb determination and fighting spirit.

Federer, in his previous two matches in Shanghai against Gilles Simon and Radek Stepanek, had struggled to find his form. He had been misfiring on the forehand side, showing a lack of patience, where he would often snatch on the shot, as if he was trying to force too much on that side, instead of swinging freely. On too many occasions, he opted for the flat point-ending forehand instead of the medium-risk loopier shot that he can also hit. It's not that Federer can't hit these shots, but he needs to be extremely relaxed to get the timing right.

Given his previous performances, it was to my surprise that Federer came out determined and confident of his own all-court, aggressive game as if he fully trusted in his abilities. From the outset, it was obvious that Federer has a lot of respect for Murray, and he came out with a specific gameplan in mind. Federer was stepping up the court and trying to rush Murray as much as possible, reminiscent of how he played the US Open final. The points were kept short, not letting Murray use his athletic abilities, variety and point construction.

It was a fascinating encounter as a matchup, because both players have the attributes needed to deal with each other's best shots. If anyone has the ability to take time away from their opponents, it's Federer, who can be ruthless and can steamroll right through his opponents. If there's anyone that can withstand the barrage of weaponry coming from Federer's racquet, it's Murray who has the ability to neutralise almost any shot that comes his way. He does this by forcing his opponents to hit higher risk shots as well as counter-attacking himself, especially when on the run or when forced to hit passing shots.

This, as well as the exceptional athletic ability of both players, allowed the two to exchange fast-paced rallies of the highest quality, which were characterized by both players having to hit the equivalent of several winners to be able to win points, and both players turning defense to offense with relative ease. Federer tried to find his way to Murray's forehand more often than not, while Murray tried to pick on Federer's backhand.

Murray is so dangerous that whenever he gets his racquet on the ball, you get the sense that he can turn around almost any point in his favour, and the longer the rally goes on, the bigger advantage he has because he is a steadier player than Federer is. What I have noticed about Murray recently is that there seems to be no particular manner in which players can rely on to consistently win points against him, and that makes it exceptionally hard for his opponents. He handles aggressive players extremely well because he has excellent passing shots and he can throw them off their rhythm, but he also has the advantage when engaging in long rallies against the more consistent players, due to his greater variety from the back of the court.

Federer needed to be selective when picking his opportunities to come in. The best bet for Federer was to try and take control of the rally early on if he can, but to respect the quality of shot if it is too high risk to attack. He implemented this balance successfully in the first set, waiting until he could move Murray out of position enough to do sufficient damage before unloading on his signature forehand. Federer can sometimes get into the habit of blocking back serves, usually being confident that he can win the point more often than not if they get into an extended rally, but against Murray, he attacked Murray's serve relentlessly, especially on second serves.

In the first set, Federer looked to be in control for most of the set, but Murray continued to probe and test Federer, keeping the match close before Federer crucially broke serve late in the first set. In the second set, Federer stepped his foot off the accelerator by a small amount, no longer imposing himself on the match as much and that was enough to make a big difference. This allowed Murray to start getting more into the rallies he likes, prolonging the rallies, placing shots into tricky positions and employing changes of spins and pace to hurt his opponent. Murray, importantly started serving better, not giving Federer as many opportunities to attack on his weaker second serve, getting 75% of his first serves to cruise to a 5-2 double break lead.

That was when the match turned to become a dramatic contest that was filled with momentum swings for both players. Where Murray seemed to have control, he somehow let it slip away from 5-2 in the second set squandering two set points. Murray missed a few too many second serves and Federer took his chances wrestling control of the point right from the return of serve and finishing it off at net. Federer went on a tear winning something like 7 of the next 8 points, then Murray recovered to take it to a tie-break, and took it up another level to win the second set in a tie-break, which featured the best tennis of the match.

At the start of the third set, Federer took an injury time-out for the back injury that he had first suffered from in Paris, and it started to hamper his movement especially in the first half of the third set. Once Murray had Federer stretching out wide, Federer had little chances of getting back into the point and whenever he came into the net, he moved gingerly whenever he had to lunge to hit a volley.

But this is where Federer began to show his fighting qualities, and started to put the injury out of his mind. He started swinging freely, making sure that if he was going to lose, that he was going to leave everything out on the court. The manner in which Federer fought back time and time again from a losing position was reminiscent of the effort that he put in the classic Wimbledon final this year, where he also seemed down and out on several occasions but pulled out winning shots under extreme pressure. Federer saved seven match points at 5-4 in the third set, but in the end, it wasn't enough for him to win the match as Murray pulled it out 7-5 in the third set.

Source: http://mvn.com/tennisdiary/2008/11/m...-shanghai.html
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Old 11-15-2008, 03:55 AM   #165
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Thank you for writing this and posting it here, Krystle.

Excellent descriptive piece of work for a tennis match that often left the viewers holding their breath.
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