Federer: Murray's got his groove back

Federer: Murray's got his groove back

Roger Federer thinks Andy Murray has had the wins he needs to restore full confidence at the end of a troubled season.

Federer and Murray will clash for a 23rd time in the final match of Group B at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals on Thursday evening.

Murray has got a few monkeys off his back in recent months, beating a top-10 player for the first time since back surgery at the US Open, winning three tournaments and beating then world number five David Ferrer twice.

One thing the Scot has not yet done in 2014 is defeat one of the top three of Federer, Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal.

Federer had his own struggles last season following back trouble and it was not until the end of the year that he began to regain his confidence after securing a couple of big wins.

“It doesn’t necessarily need to be one of the top guys,” he said. “It’s already helpful just beating any top-10 player.

“I think for me it all started with the win over (Juan Martin) Del Potro here last year and in Paris. I knew that was somewhat big for me. It solidifies that you’re heading in the right direction.

“I think he had that with beating Ferrer twice, and (Marin) Cilic as well in Beijing, (Jo-Wilfried) Tsonga at the US Open. Those are the matches he needed to win down the stretch at the end of the season, which he did. That’s why I’m sure his belief is higher now again.”

Murray and Federer are currently locked together at 11-11 but the Swiss has won all three previous meetings at London’s O2 Arena.

Federer has looked very impressive so far in winning both his matches while Murray bounced back from a poor showing against Kei Nishikori with victory over Milos Raonic.

That kept alive his hopes of reaching the semi-finals, and the good news for the Scot is he will know what he needs to do before the start of his match.

Raonic and Nishikori meet in the afternoon and, should the Japanese player win, Murray would have to beat Federer in straight sets to stand a chance.

Victory for Raonic, on the other hand, would mean any win for Murray would be enough, while there is also a scenario where he could lose and go through.

Even Federer is not guaranteed a spot in the last four, although a set would be enough for the Swiss.

The other intriguing factor will be how much support both players receive.

When they met here in 2012, there was noticeably more noise for Federer, with the make-up of the crowd much more international than at Wimbledon.

In his BBC column, Murray said: “The crowd will probably be more split when I play against Roger but that’s no surprise.

“I’ve played him all over the world and pretty much everywhere he goes he gets very good support. I would expect the same again on Thursday.”

In the second matches in Group A on Wednesday, two-time defending champion Novak Djokovic continued to look the man to beat with a 6-3 6-0 thumping of Stan Wawrinka while Tomas Berdych defeated Marin Cilic 6-3 6-1.

The qualification scenario is exactly the same as Group B, with all four players having something still to play for.

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