Roger Federer Destroys Andy Murray at 2009 Cincinnati Masters

Paul F. VillarrealCorrespondent IAugust 22, 2009

CINCINNATI - AUGUST 21:  Roger Federer of Switzerland waves to the crowd after defeating Lleyton Hewitt of Australia during day five of the Western & Southern Financial Group Masters on August 21, 2009 at the Lindner Family Tennis Center in Cincinnati, Ohio.  (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)

So much for "The Streak."

Roger Federer erased any doubts about his ability to defeat Scotland's Andy Murray today at the semifinals of the 2009 Cincinnati Masters.

Prior to this match, Federer had been 0-4 against new world No. 2 Murray in their previous four encounters. Though Federer had won both the French Open and Wimbledon this season, he didn't have to face Murray in either competition.

This led some fans and tennis commentators to conclude that not only was Murray the better player of the two, but also that Federer may still be major-less in 2009 had the Swiss been forced to meet the Scot at Roland Garros or the All England Club.

Federer ended such speculation with today's emphatic victory.

The final score was 6-2, 7-6 (10-8) for Federer. The world No. 1 never faced a break point, and the match concluded on a fittingly nervous Murray double fault in the second set tiebreaker. Though the Scot did have two set points in the latter stages of that tiebreaker, both came against Federer's serve and Murray could convert neither of them.

As has been the case in many of their recent match-ups, Federer started strong, easily taking the first set. Murray responded to Federer's heightened level of play in the final stanza, but it was not enough to extend the contest to a decisive third set.

The ESPN2 commentators reported that someone had been giving Federer a tough time in the locker room before the match about Federer's good friend Tiger Woods and Woods' collapse last week at the 2009 PGA Championship. Such talk may have helped the Swiss achieve maximum focus for the Murray match.

Whatever the case may be, Federer wasn't about to show any weakness or vulnerability akin to that which Woods demonstrated last weekend in falling to South Korean Y.E. Yang. Federer was all business and he now seems fully prepared to win his sixth consecutive U.S. Open in about three weeks time.

With this victory over Murray combined with Federer's rout of the Scot in the 2008 U.S. Open final, Federer is clearly the favorite heading into the final major of the season. The U.S. Open will begin nine days from now in New York City.

The only person, it seems, who has a legitimate chance to derail the "Fed Express" is Rafael Nadal. The Spaniard played an outstanding match last night against the Czech Republic's Tomas Berdych and Nadal now faces Novak Djokovic of Serbia for a shot at Federer in tomorrow's final.

Nadal clearly is capable of defeating Federer, but are Rafael's knees healthy and strong enough yet following his long injury layoff to be able to best the peaking Swiss?

That question will be answered shortly.

ESPN2 will have coverage of the Nadal-Djokovic semifinal match tonight at 10:00 pm EDT (02:00 Greenwich Mean Time (GMT), Sunday, Aug. 23).