Fri, Aug 18, 2006 - Page 24 News List

Andy Murray stuns Swiss powerhouse

TENNIS While the 19-year-old Scot said his victory was meant to be, the Swiss king of the game complained that putting big events so close was a huge drain on players

AFP , CINCINNATI, OHIO

Andy Murray, from Great Britain, hits a backhand return against Roger Federer, from Switzerland, in Cincinnati, Ohio, on Wednesday.

PHOTO: AP

Scottish teenager Andy Murray stunned Swiss powerhouse Roger Federer 7-5, 6-4 on Wednesday in the second round of the Cincinnati Masters Series.

Murray, 19, joined Spain's world No. 2 Rafael Nadal as the only men to get past the Swiss master this year, with Nadal beating his rival four times in finals this year.

World No. 1 Federer saw his run of consecutive finals ended at 17, one short of the record set by Ivan Lendl in 1981-1982.

The Swiss, winner of his last 55 North American hardcourt events dating to a first-round loss to Dominik Hrbaty here two years ago, lost his serve seven times, a personal low point in a three-set match.

"That is what I regret, I couldn't hit one," he said of his performance on serve.

"It's disturbing and disappointing. I'm sorry the match didn't end the way I wanted. He played pretty well, and I have to give him credit. He was able to close it out when he had to," Federer added.

Murray held his nerve to serve out the stunning triumph on his first opportunity, nailing a backhand pass down the line to finish it off in just over 90 minutes.

But the optimistic Swiss with eight Grand Slam titles is considering the big picture.

And his US Open defense starting a week from Monday now looms large in his mind.

"We'll see what I've got to do now the next few days, I'm really excited about the Open now," he said.

Federer rushed to Cincinnati on Monday after winning the Toronto trophy at the weekend over Richard Gasquet.

He said that putting big events so close was a huge drain on players and confessed that he had toyed with the idea of skipping Cincinnati.

"I'm already very happy that I could win one of the two Masters Series and that I actually was able to play here," he said.

"I considered from the start if I did well in Toronto, I might not play here. But I still came, I feel like it still was the right decision," Federer said.

Murray felt that his tennis stars were lined up on the momentous day.

"I just felt today it was my time to win against him," said the 19-year-old who is set to advance past his current 21st ranking.

"I hadn't served out a match in five, six matches. I didn't feel nervous, I didn't get nervous at all, I just kind of went with it. That's what happens when it's meant to be," he said.

Murray broke Federer four times in the first set, earning the decisive break in the 11th game.

Murray, who will now gain a foothold inside the top 20, held his head in his hands in disbelief in victory.

Federer, 25, suffered his first defeat since losing in the final of the French Open to Nadal. Since then, he had captured titles at Halle, Wimbledon and Toronto.

World No. 2 Nadal advanced with relative ease, posting a 6-4, 6-3 victory over Hyung-taik Lee a week after ousting the South Korean by the same score in the second round in Toronto.

Kim Clijsters retired with a wrist injury in a second-round match against Canadian Stephanie Dubois on Wednesday night at the Rogers Cup.

Dubois, ranked No. 151 in the world, lost the first set 1-6, but led 3-2 in the second after Clijsters twice had her left wrist treated at courtside.

Clijsters, the defending US Open champ and top seed, has a history of trouble with her left wrist. She retired after she dove for a crosscourt shot and landed on her wrist.

After first having the wrist treated while leading 2-1 in the second set, Clijsters was unable to use a two-handed backhand and dropped the next two games.

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