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By Chris Oddo

Federer fist pump (November 11, 2012)—Roger Federer overcame a slow start to race past Andy Murray and into his 8th ATP World Tour Finals title match with a 7-6(5), 6-2 victory on Sunday.

The pair were meeting for the fifth time in 2012, and for a third time in London, but this time in a decidedly different venue. Unfortunately for Murray, Federer seems to like the O2 Arena almost as much as he likes Wimbledon’s Centre Court.

Maybe more.

After today’s impressive victory over Murray, Federer has won 13 of his last 14 at the swank, dimly lit O2 Arena, and he’ll look to achieve a London three-peat tomorrow against World No. 1 Novak Djokovic in the final.

Federer finished strong, losing only two points on serve in the second set, but it wasn’t clear what type of day he’d have from the beginning.

Murray broke serve easily in the first game when Federer netted a makeable forehand, and the Olympic and U.S. Open champion continued to blaze a trail for the next several games, taking balls early, serving big, and looking like the better, more dialed in player.

But Federer bided his time and when he got his chance he never looked back.

“Eventually I really got into the groove from the baseline, he doubted himself maybe just a touch,” said Federer afterwards.

It was Federer that placed the first seeds of doubt in Murray’s head. Sensing a challenge from a player who has made monumental strides in 2012, Federer upped his intensity to match that of Murray’s and blistered a beautiful forehand down-the-line approach shot to force the error on his first break point of the day.

With the score tied at 4-4, Federer seemed to relax and draw upon the many good memories he’s had in recent years in London. “I was not sure what to expect tonight,” he said, “but it was amazing, electric.”

After going down a mini-break in the first-set tiebreaker, Federer got back on serve when he finished off a 22-shot rally with an inside-out forehand that Murray couldn’t handle.

When Murray’s forehand sailed long at 4-5, Federer had two set points to work with, and he made the second count.

In the second set, Federer stayed hot, breaking Murray in the third game, then breaking again in the seventh game after threading a beautiful cross-court backhand passing shot past an onrushing Murray.

With a 5-2 lead, Federer stepped to the service line with an aura of invincibility about him. When Federer rolls on a fast indoor court like he did today he’s like a snowball that can quickly cause an avalanche.

Murray, try as he may, had no answer on this day. While serving for the match at 5-2, Federer knocked off a crisp backhand volley to set himself up with two match points, then ripped a forehand down-the-line winner on the ensuing point to claim his spot in the final, with a chance at an astounding 7th ATP World Tour Finals title on the line Monday.

(Photo Credit: AP)


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