Roger Federer: Erratic Play Against Murray Signals Changing of the Guard

Mike ShiekmanFeatured ColumnistOctober 14, 2012

SHANGHAI, CHINA - OCTOBER 13: Andy Murray of Britain (L) celebrates after defeating Roger Federer of Switzerland during the Men's Singles semi-finals of the Shanghai Rolex Masters at the Qi Zhong Tennis Center on October 13, 2012 in Shanghai, China.  (Photo by Lintao Zhang/Getty Images)
Lintao Zhang/Getty Images

The good news: Roger Federer has been the world’s No. 1 player for 300 weeks. The bad? He hardly has the look of it.

Roger Federer got trampled by Andy Murray in the Shanghai Masters semifinal 6-4 6-4, and it wasn’t even close.

Perhaps the hierarchy between the two tennis heavyweights is more in Murray’s favor. It sure had the look of it in Shanghai Saturday night.

Federer couldn’t get his serve to land in play, an unusual nag for the No. 1 player in the world. Frustrations mounted as the serves continued to be problematic.

The issue reached a climax in the fifth game, when the Swiss legend double-faulted three times in a row to give Murray the advantage.

Not all players would be able to take advantage of a wounded Roger Federer, but Murray continued his masterful run. Dating back to the Olympics, he has the look of the No. 1 player in the world; he seems to have reached another level with his game.

By the way, in those Olympics, who did he beat? Ah, yes.

In Federer’s defense, though, Murray has been almost unbeatable at Shanghai. The two-time defending champion feels at home in Qizhong Arena’s Centre Court, winning his last 12 matches in the building.

Even so, Murray just looked like the more comfortable player on this day. Federer had no answers after his serve fell out of favor, and Murray made quick work of him as if he were Tomas Berdych, who the Brit disposed of the previous round.

Now Murray will move onto face Novak Djokovic in the final, a match in which he may as well be favored considering his Shanghai Masters history.

Federer, on the other hand, will go home empty-handed. Not the typical result he’s used to.

Unfortunately, he may have to get used to shaking Murray’s hand in defeat. The tennis winds seem to be changing.