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Murray downs Federer to book final showdown with Nadal

Andy Murray defeated world number two Roger Federer on Saturday and will get a shot at number one Rafael Nadal in the final of the Indian Wells ATP Masters series tournament.

sports Updated: Mar 22, 2009 07:40 IST

Andy Murray defeated world number two Roger Federer on Saturday and will get a shot at number one Rafael Nadal in the final of the Indian Wells ATP Masters series tournament.

Murray, ranked fourth in the world, defeated Federer 6-3, 4-6, 6-1, while Nadal, who solidified his hardcourt credentials with his Australian Open triumph this year, defeated seventh-seeded American Andy Roddick 6-4, 7-6 (7/4).

Murray has now won six of his eight encounters with Federer, including four in a row since losing to the mighty Swiss in straight sets in last September's US Open final.

Federer, a 13-time Grand Slam champion, did little to help himself reverse that trend, with an uncharacteristic 32 unforced errors.

"Every time I play Roger I feel like I've got a shot to win," said Murray, who frustrated Federer with his ability to cover the court and mix up the pace.

Federer was able to raise his game in the second set, but with Murray applying pressure from all over the court he couldn't find an answer in the third.

"Way too many errors," said Federer, who was playing his first tournament since falling to Nadal in the Australian Open final.

The 27-year-old, who will become a father in the summer, spent the intervening six weeks recovering from a lingering back injury.

Murray is bidding for his third title of the season, despite being slowed by an ankle injury and a virus.

The 21-year-old Briton had a frightening moment in the third set when he fell to the ground with a cry of pain on the second point of the fourth game - but he still managed to break Federer for a 3-1 lead.

Murray said he had feared a groin injury, but soon realized he wasn't seriously hurt.

"I got a little bit scared at first, but after I got up and ran around I knew it was going to be OK," said Murray, who sealed the victory on his fourth match point with a 209 kilometre per hour (130 mph) service winner that Federer could only smack out of court.

"He's a great counterpuncher," Federer said of what made the young Scot such a tough opponent. "He reads the game really well. He's got great feel. He knows he doesn't have to play close to the lines because he knows he can cover the court really well. I think that calms him down mentally."

Federer's greatest chance came early, when he took a 0-40 lead on Murray's serve in the fourth game of the opening set. But five straight wayward backhands cost him the game.

"I would have loved to go in front with the lead," Federer said. "We had a tough rally as well at 30-40. Who knows if I maybe win that point, maybe he can't play the way he played all match long."

Nadal reached his third final of 2009, and will get a chance to avenge his loss to Murray in the final at Rotterdam in February.

Nadal came out of Rotterdam nursing a knee injury that prompted him to pull out of Dubai, but has since led Spain to victory over Serbia in the Davis Cup.

Against Roddick, a former world number one trying to re-establish himself in the top five, Nadal needed just one break to claim the opening set.

The going got tougher in the second, but after an exchange of breaks in the third and fourth games Nadal gained the upper hand with a break for a 4-3 lead.

Serving for the match at 5-4, Nadal was broken, but the Spaniard finished off Roddick in the tiebreaker with relative ease.

The men's final on Sunday will follow the women's championship match, between defending champion Ana Ivanovic and Russian Vera Zvonareva.

First Published: Mar 22, 2009 07:33 IST