Murray stuns Federer at Cincinnati

August 16, 2006 04:27 PM

MASON, Ohio (Ticker) - For this first time in two years, Roger Federer will not be advancing to a tournament final. Improbably, the player who ended his streak was Andy Murray.

The 19-year-old Brit took advantage of Federer's serving woes to stun the world's best player, 7-5, 6-4, on Wednesday in the second round of the ATP Western & Southern Financial Group Masters.

"Obviously, I wasn't expecting to win today," said Murray, who had lost their lone prior encounter in straight sets in the Bangkok final last year. "So when it did happen, I was in a little bit of shock."

Since losing in the first round here to Dominik Hrbaty in 2004, Federer had won 55 straight matches in North America. The top seed and defending champion in Cincinnati, he had been to 17 straight finals - one shy of Ivan Lendl's ATP Tour record set from 1981-82 - since losing to Rafael Nadal in the 2005 French Open semifinals. Federer had been been 62-0 against everybody but Nadal this year.

"I feel OK," Federer said. "Not tired. Just disappointed that the match didn't go the way I wanted it to. Nothing really worked. It's kind of hard. You just have to look at the stats, and they show that I didn't play well. So it's just a pity from that standpoint.

"But otherwise, I thought he played pretty well. Got to give him credit for closing out the match when he had to, because he missed plenty of chances. He should have closed me out way easier than five and four, so I'm pretty happy with the score."

The winner earlier this year at San Jose, Murray had reached the Washington final and Toronto semifinals in his first two tournaments under coach Brad Gilbert, but this was by far the biggest win of his young career.

"He basically said to me the most important thing was to believe and, you know, think that you had a shot of winning going into the match," Murray said. "Although I knew it was gonna be difficult, I did feel that if I returned well, I was gonna have a chance of getting close. And, you know, when you're getting to 5-All in sets, anything can happen."

The native of Scotland broke Federer four times in the first set, earning the decisive break in the 11th game.

Twice Murray was up a break in the second set only to see Federer counter, including in the eighth game to level the set at 4-4. But Murray broke again in the ninth game and held easily, completing the stunner with a backhand down the line.

"I was reading most of his serves and I was in all of his service games maybe bar one or two in the whole match," Murray said. "I felt like if I could get ahead and improve my first serve, then, you know, I thought I had a good chance of winning."

"I was just serving bad," Federer said. "That's just the thing I'm mostly disappointed about. Because with the serve, my opponent really has nothing to do with, you know, because I'm in control of how good I can serve. That's the only thing really I regret."

Murray next will face Robby Ginepri in the third round Thursday after the 15th-seeded American dispatched Russian Dmitry Tursunov, 6-3, 6-4.

Also in Federer's quarter of the draw, No. 9 Andy Roddick advanced with a 6-4, 6-4 triumph over Belgian Kristof Vliegen, but fellow American Vincent Spadea was outlasted by Juan Ignacio Chela of Argentina, 6-7 (5-7), 7-5, 6-2. Roddick's win followed a battle on Tuesday with Italian Daniele Bracciali that required three tiebreaks.

In the first match at Centre Court, the second-seeded Nadal defeated Korean Hyung-Taik Lee, 6-4, 6-3. The Spanish lefthander had to rally for a 6-7 (5-7), 6-2, 6-3 win over American wild card Sam Querrey on Tuesday.

Nadal will meet 14th-seeded German Tommy Haas, a 6-3, 4-6, 6-4 winner over Frenchman Gilles Simon, in the third round.

Elsewhere in Nadal's quarter, 2003 French Open champion Juan Carlos Ferrero of Spain upset No. 6 James Blake of the U.S., 6-2, 6-4.

Blake has not won more than two matches in any of his past three tournaments since winning at Indianapolis last month.

Ferrero next will face Swede Robin Soderling, who got past American Justin Gimelstob, 6-3, 2-6, 7-6 (8-6).

Also in the bottom half of the draw, No. 4 Ivan Ljubicic of Croatia beat Russian Mikhail Youzhny, 6-4, 7-6 (7-5). Ljubicic awaits No. 16 Hrbaty of Slovakia, who routed Italian qualifier Davide Sanguinetti, 6-3, 6-2.

In the top half, No. 13 Fernando Gonzalez of Chile downed American Mardy Fish, 7-5, 7-5. He next will play Swiss wild card Stanislas Wawrinka, who upset No. 3 David Nalbandian of Argentina, 6-4, 6-2.

Eighth seed Marcos Baghdatis of Cyprus ousted Frenchman Gael Monfils, 7-6 (10-8), 2-6, 6-1, to set up a meeting with No. 10 David Ferrer, who rallied for a 4-6, 7-6 (7-1), 6-0 triumph over fellow Spaniard Nicolas Almagro.