Thursday, February 22, 2024

In-form Murray bids to dislodge Federer

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SHANGHAI: In-form Andy Murray said on Tuesday he had entered the final weeks of the season in a good “mindset” as he bids to dislodge Roger Federer from the world number three spot.

Britain’s Murray has won 21 of his past 22 matches, taking titles in Cincinnati, Bangkok and Tokyo. His only loss during that period came against Spain’s Rafael Nadal in the US Open semifinals. The pair are hot favourites to meet in the final of this week’s Shanghai Masters in the absence of world number one Novak Djokovic and 16-time Grand Slam winner Federer.

“Just been working hard,” said the 24-year-old. “Yeah, went into this stretch with the right mindset. You know, after the US Open finished, sat down, kind of made some goals between now and the end of the year, gave myself that extra little motivation, that extra little push for the last few tournaments.”

Murray, currently ranked number four, allowed Nadal a mere four points in the deciding set in Tokyo on Sunday, coming from behind to win 3-6, 6-2, 6-0.

“What happened in the third set, it probably never happened to him before, and I’ll probably never play a set of tennis again like that on the tour,” said Murray, whose career-high ranking is number two.

“I think I lost four or five points. That’s probably not going to happen to me again. It’s just one of those sets where I hardly missed a ball. I wish it happened every day, but the reality is it’s not going to be like that.”

Shanghai top seed and world number two Nadal, who has a 13-5 winning career record over Murray, said the Scot had never played better against him.

“He played fantastic. No mistakes. Winners from every place,” he said. (Agencies)

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