For the first time in its four year history, the Shanghai Masters sees the top 4 seeds in the semi finals. However, Roger Federer will face off against Andy Murray for the fourth time this year alone. Federer won their first two matches in 2012 in the Dubai and Wimbledon finals but Murray had the last laugh at the London Olympics. Overall the Scott leads the Swiss 9-8 in their 17 meetings. Murray has had a dream run from winning the gold in London to getting the grand slam monkey off his back at the US Open. Federer said of Murray, “I assume he’s very confident right now and probably playing with a little bit less pressure. Then again, that can go either way. It’s been a long year for all of us. I’m looking forward to the match. It’s always great playing the best players.”
The Maestro had a much better performance against Cilic than his 3rd round encounter with Wawrinka. He looked in control most of the time except when he faltered serving for the match at 5-3 when he was broken. He then broke right back to win the match, 6-3, 6-4. He looked… solid, not brilliant, but good. Will ‘good’ be enough to defeat this year’s US Open Champion and Olympic gold medalist? Murray had a tougher time getting through his match against an inspired Radek Stepanek who took the first set. It took Murray’s big match experiences to let him hang in there and then eventually close it out. In other words, he’s not in pristine form either. The closest to pristine at this moment is a certain Novak Djokovic but that’s a topic for a different post.
While Djokovic will face Berdych in the first semi of the day, undoubtedly the match to watch will be Federer v. Murray. Neither are currently at their absolute best but both know how and when to turn their levels up a few notches when needed. Fed will have to serve well, come to the net, mix it up and try and take the first set quickly, not let Murray settle into a rhythm. In less than 24 hours we shall see if the newest Grand Slam Champion can keep his Shanghai record intact or whether Mr. 300 weeks takes this opportunity to move a step closer to getting his 77th singles title. Should be a cracker of a match!