Murray to face Federer in semis
Andy Murray will meet Roger Federer in the semi-finals of the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals on Sunday after David Ferrer bowed out of the tournament with victory over Janko Tipsarevic.
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The pair were in the unusual situation of both being unable to reach the semi-finals but knowing their result would have an impact on those who had.
In the end, Ferrer's 4-6 6-3 6-1 victory meant he joined Federer and Juan Martin Del Potro on two wins in Group B but his record was the worst in terms of sets won and lost, with Federer top by that criteria.
Del Potro, who beat Federer earlier to book his place in the last four, will meet Group A winner Novak Djokovic in the other last-four clash.
Murray reached the last four for the third time, and second time in four years at the O2 Arena, with victory over Jo-Wilfried Tsonga on Friday evening.
That left him second in Group A behind Djokovic, who won all three of his pool matches, and facing the likely scenario of having to beat Federer and Djokovic to lift the trophy.
It is not something that fazes Murray, who has had plenty of practice such has been the consistency of the top players over the past few years.
And Murray only needs to look back three months for an occasion when he beat both, and it came in the same city at the Olympics, where the 25-year-old did not drop a set in defeating Djokovic in the semi-finals and then Federer for the gold medal.
Murray said: "I think over the years I got used to playing those guys a couple of times in a week or whatever. Also with Rafa (Nadal) as well. It's happened quite a few times.
"It's not something that I'm afraid of. I know it's incredibly difficult and challenging to beat guys like that back to back, but it's doable. But you're obviously going to have to play great tennis to do that, and I'm aware of that."
Federer has been the king of the O2 since the tournament moved to London in 2009, winning the title in 2010 and 2011 to make it a record six titles overall.
Murray has a winning record against the Swiss star, leading 10-8, and has won their past two matches but Federer won both their previous meetings here, in the group stages in 2009 and 2010.
"He's played great indoors the last few years, that's for sure," said Murray. "I've played him quite a few times indoors and had decent success against him early on. The last few times I played him I haven't done so well indoors.
"But his record speaks for itself. He's played very well so far here. He likes the conditions when they're like this. It helps his timing. When he's timing the ball well, he plays great tennis."
It will be the third meeting between Federer and Murray in London this year after their clashes in the Olympic final and earlier the Wimbledon final, which Federer won.
The 31-year-old praised the progress made this season by Murray, who went on to add his first grand slam title at the US Open to the Olympic gold.
"Andy did great," said Federer. "I always hoped he would have a reaction like this, even though it cost me maybe a gold medal. I was a bit disappointed in his reaction after the Australian Open final (in 2010) when I beat him there, then he had a bad spell.
"Instead of taking the positives out of a great tournament, because he was playing great tennis, he took the negatives out of it. I don't think he did that mistake again after Wimbledon. That's the sign of a champion.
"So you can say it sort of started for him at the Olympics. He did put himself in positions time and time again in the past and I think he's learned from his mistakes. Now he's up there and he will be for a very long time."
Del Potro, meanwhile, said: "Beating Federer is not easy for sure. But I didn't think about trying to qualify for the next round.
"I was just thinking about my match and doing the same things like Basle. At the end I was thinking maybe it could be my last service game of the year.
"So I put all my concentration into serving and that helped me to make fantastic first serves and many aces.
"But he's still the favourite to win the tournament, with Murray and Djokovic. Now you have three big names in the semi-finals and one big guy.
"I'm the number four for sure. But everything can happen. I beat Federer, Novak and Andy a long time ago, so maybe if I am lucky I can repeat that here."
Federer does not believe playing two days in a row will be a disadvantage for him or Del Potro but admits that the schedule becomes a factor if either makes it through to Monday's final.
Britain's Jonny Marray and Dane Freddie Nielsen will also be in action on Sunday evening in the doubles semi-finals against Spanish duo Marcel Granollers and Marc Lopez, who they beat in the first round on their way to winning the Wimbledon title this summer.