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Tennis Masters Cup: Friday preview

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Originally published on: 26/02/10 15:03

The most eagerly anticipated match yet at this weeks Tennis Masters Cup will be contested on Friday night at Shanghais Qi Zhong Arena defending champion and top seed Roger Federer fighting for his life against world No.4 and arguably the best player in the world right now, Andy Murray.

After defeat against Gilles Simon in his opening match on Monday, Federer finds himself needing to beat the in-form Scot in his last Red Group outing to stay in the event.

‘I’m looking forward to the match. Should be interesting.’ – Federer

If Federer loses, he is out, Simon will go through to the semi-finals and with it go the Swiss world No.2s hopes of adding a fifth Masters Series title in six years to his portfolio of achievements.

Although Murray is guaranteed a place in Saturdays semis alongside Novak Djokovic and Nikolay Davydenko, he says he wont be holding back on Friday and will be approaching the match with one aim to win.

“I’m sure the tournament director would rather I didn’t but I will give it my best shot,” said Murray. “Obviously there will be a lot more pressure on Roger to win than me. It will be the first time I’ve played him when I have not been under pressure.

Ideally I’d like to knock him out of the competition if I can. I’d rather not have to play him twice in one week. He’s the best player ever!

So far this week, Federer has failed to find the mercurial touches weve all become accustomed to and admits the odds are against him, particularly after losing his most recent meeting with Murray in the Madrid Masters semi-finals last month.

Federer managed a scrappy victory over alternate Radek Stepanek on Wednesday night but has revealed he is less than 100% fit after suffering an upset stomach for the last 48 hours.

At the end of the day I still have a chance, said an optimistic Federer. I hope with a day of recovery I’ll make a miracle happen here and get through to the semis.

I’m looking forward to the match. Should be interesting. He’s a wonderful player. He’s had a great end to the season. He’s definitely the guy probably most in form.”

The first singles of the day will see Simon go up against Stepanek, a match the talented Frenchman is expected to win before the main course is dished up in front of 7,000 screaming fans.

Theres more doubles too on Friday with the pick of the matches the second contest on court.

The Bryan brothers, Canadian-Serb team Daniel Nestor and Nenad Zimonjic and South Americans Pablo Cuevas and Luis Horna are all safely through to the last four with one spot still to be filled.

That will go to the winner of the match between Jonas Bjorkman and Kevin Ullyett and Polish duo Mariusz Fyrstenberg and Marcin Matkowski.

This contest will have an added edge to it for Bjorkman who is playing the last event of his career. If he and Ullyett lose, expect an emotional farewell from the Swede, who is one of the most respected and popular players on tour.

Friday order of play (2pm start)

Nestor & Zimonjic V Dlouhy & Paes
Bjorkman & Ullyett V Fyrstenberg & Matkowski

Not Before 6:00 PM
Stepanek V Simon

Not Before 8:00 PM
Federer V Murray

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