Match Stats/Report - Murray vs Federer, Cincinnati second round, 2006


Hall of Fame
Andy Murray beat Roger Federer 7-5, 6-4 in the Cincinnati second round, 2006 on hard court

Murray was 19 years old and this was his first win over Federer. Starting with this match, he would win 6 of the pair's 7 successive matches. Federer was the world number 1 and defending champion. This is the only match he lost in the year other than to Rafael Nadal and the only tournament out of 17 where he didn't reach the final. Starting in mid 2005 and ending in early 2007, this was the only tournament out of 25 where he didn't reach the final
Murray would go onto lose to eventual champion Andy Roddick in the quarter-final,

Murray won 75 points, Federer 69

Serve Stats
- 1st serve percentage (28/68) 41%
- 1st serve points won (17/28) 61%
- 2nd serve points won (19/40) 48%
- Aces 4, Service Winners 1
- Double Faults 3
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (13/68) 19%

- 1st serve percentage (42/76) 55%
- 1st serve points won (24/42) 57%
- 2nd serve points won (13/34) 38%
- Aces 6, Service Winners 1
- Double Faults 3
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (13/76) 17%

Serve Patterns
Murray served...
- to FH 25%
- to BH 71%
- to Body 5%

Federer served...
- to FH 44%
- to BH 55%
- to Body 1%

Return Stats
Murray made...
- 60 (26 FH, 34 BH), including 1 runaround FH
- 6 Errors, comprising...
- 2 Unforced (2 BH)
- 4 Forced (3 FH, 1 BH)
- Return Rate (60/73) 82%

Federer made...
- 52 (13 FH, 39 BH), including 3 runaround FHs & 2 return-approaches
- 8 Errors, comprising...
- 5 Unforced (2 FH, 3 BH)
- 3 Forced (2 FH, 1 BH)
- Return Rate (52/65) 80%

Break Points
Murray 7/14 (8 games)
Federer 5/7 (5 games)

Winners (excluding serves, including returns)
Murray 22 (8 FH, 10 BH, 3 FHV, 1 OH)
Federer 18 (7 FH, 3 BH, 2 FHV, 4 BHV, 2 OH)

Murray's FHs - 2 cc, 2 inside-out (1 pass that was played like a running-down-drop-shot), 2 inside-in and 2 at net (1 net-to-net)
- BHs - 4 cc (3 passes) and 6 dtl (1 pass, 1 possibly not clean)

- 1 FHV was a non-net swing shot and 1 was a first volley off a serve-volley point (a drop)

Federer's FHs - 2 cc, 1 dtl, 3 inside-out (1 pass) and 1 inside-in
- BHs - 3 dtl (2 passes)

Errors (excluding serves and returns)
Murray 35
- 17 Unforced (5 FH, 11 BH, 1 OH)
- 18 Forced (5 FH, 9 BH, 2 FHV, 2 BHV)
- Unforced Error Forcefulness Index 47.1

Federer 37
- 30 Unforced (15 FH, 13 BH, 1 FHV, 1 BHV)
- 7 Forced (6 FH, 1 BH)… with 1 FH at net
- Unforced Error Forcefulness Index 44

(Note 1: all half-volleys refer to such shots played at net. Half -volleys played from other parts of the court are included within relevant groundstroke counts)

(Note 2: the Unforced Error Forcefulness Index is an indicator of how aggressive the average UE was. The numbers presented for these two matches are keyed on 4 categories - 20 defensive, 40 neutral, 50 attacking and 60 winner attempt)

Net Points & Serve-Volley
Murray was...
- 9/17 (53%) at net, including...
- 3/3 (100%) serve-volleying, comprising...
- 2/2 off 1st serve and...
- 1/1 off 2nd serve

Federer was...
- 18/27 (67%) at net, including...
- 0/1 serve-volleying, a 1st serve
- 1/2 return-approaching

Match Report
Not a good match of a slow Cincinnati court. The teenage Murray returns surely, plays at least decently but serves poorly. Federer plays a lot more poorly than Murray serves. The key to the match are his baseline errors

A word on conditions. They appear to be slow, despite the venue's reputation to the contrary. Note unreturned rates of 19% and 17%. These are almost clay court numbers. Groundstrokes are hit regularly from lower rib height and neither player is able to hit through the court

How often has Roger Federer been broken 7 times in 11 service games on a hard court? To compare, in the famous beating he took at French Open final in 2008 to Rafael Nadal, he was broken 8 times in 11 games
The difference here is that Murray's weak serve enables Fed to do some damage on return games

Murray's Play
Good solid showing from Murray

His returning is particularly good. You can't break serve without putting returns in play, and Murray does, a full 82% of them.

His returns are mostly neutralizing, just shy of commanding and he seems to be able to do it without strain. Some very good deep returns to the baseline too

In play, Murray is steady from the back, especially of the FH. 22 winners to 17 UEs are great figures. The BH looks a lot like Lleyton Hewitt's with no bend at the elbow

Murray's variety makes a small contribution to his opponents error fest. He hits a lot of different balls - now higher, now loopier, now sliced, now harder, now pushed through and so on. This ability to hit a wide range of neutral shots is an easy to overlook positive part of his game and tends to disrupt opponents rhythm. It works particularly well with someone like Federer, who tends to play very rhythmically

Federer is wrong footed 3 or 4 times in the match. Not something that happens to him often.

Murray's variety extends to attacking shots, though he mostly stays in neutral. At least a couple of winners form regulation positions - a FH inside-in that gives him break point that's converted early in the match and a BH inside-out, a rarely played shot in the game. Good net instincts shown from him too - he comes in after overpowering Fed to dispatch a FHV winner and there's another bold, swinging FHV winner from well behind the service line

Note the 3/3 off serve volley points, including a second serve. Nice variety. but coming in off rallies, he's just 6/14. This is down to outstanding passing from Fed. Murray also handles Fed's regular short slices well. He's quick enough to bop them with point ending force without having to take net

The negatives for Murray center around his serve. Just 41% first serves in... and his second serve is gimme, a slow ball in the middle of the box. Its an invitation to attack, and its Fed's poor play that keeps it from becoming a problem. 48% second serve points isn't bad... and behind that serve, rather good

There's observation on commentary that in retrospect is amusing. Murray talks at intervals with his new coach Brad Gilbert. Cliff Drysdale wonders aloud how Gilbert will take to being spoken to so brusquely. I thought Murray addressed him normally... its a drop in the lake to how he'd come to shout and scream at his box in future

Federer's Play
30 unforced errors to 18 winners. More than double the errors on the FH and about 4 times as many on the BH

Note also the moderate UEFI of 44 (Murray's is 47.1). 22 of his errors are neutral shots, with 4 being attacking shots and 4 winner attempts.

From the baseline, Federer can't keep the ball in play off either side for long. Solid and varied as Murray's groundies are, the lions share of the cause is just poor play from Fed

In the first set, after missing a routine third ball neutral BH to give Murray a break point, Fed whacks a ball out of the stadium and incurs a warning for ball abuse. The point before, he'd missed an easy attacking run in BH. The point after, he double faults. On his previous service game, he'd missed a routine FH to give Murray break point and then double faulted... he probably does well to keep it to hitting just one ball out of the

Hard to outdo double faulting on break point in back to back games but he tries in the second set. He's broken in his last two service game, shanking neutral FHs on break points

On the positive side for Federer, he plays well at net, but doesn't do it enough. 27 approaches is a healthy number, but as much as the baseline rallies were going against him, he'd probably have been better off coming in even more. Ability to manufacture the approach from neutral situation is more impressive than the volleying, which is not bad but not great either. Most of Murray's 14 groundstrokes are passing errors

Fed's returning strategy is also dubious. He mostly chips back the weak Murray second serve. He's able to take charge of the point all 3 times he runsaround to hit FHs - in fact, twice the return itself forces an error and also chip-charges twice. Its quite possible to safely attack this serve... but Fed rarely tries. Just puts it in play and then they rally

Its a mindset that tended to get him into trouble against strong court players like Rafael Nadal, who can outplay him from neutral starting points more often than not. Its fairly certain he hadn't foreseen just how badly he would play... but there's an uncalled for lack of enterprise or over-eagerness to play safe on the return that's uncharacteristic of Federer's play in other areas

The match ends on a high note as Murray serves out to 15. Fed takes net on the last three points, and Murray passes him with BHs - the first cc, the second on match point dtl to seal the match. Murray had opened the game with his sole service winner

Summing up, some good stuff from Murray, especially easy neutralizing returning and good, disarming variety in his groundstrokes, especially off the FH. The main story of the match though is Federer playing horrendously in missing regulation groundstrokes every which way
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Hadn't Fed reached finals of every tournament he had played till then? Won Canada too. No wonder he was mentally out of it.

But Murray played very well, and made Federer pay for that.

Great analysis by the way.


This is such a weak era where baby Murray, Rafa, Nole could compete and when 3 guys will end up over 20 majors.
So, you really think it's normal that 3 guys have more than 20 majos? That to me is too much of a statistical extreme to be considered legit.


This is such a weak era where baby Murray, Rafa, Nole could compete and when 3 guys will end up over 20 majors.
So, you really think it's normal that 3 guys have more than 20 majos? That to me is too much of a statistical extreme to be considered legit. In previous eras one guy was lucky to win over 10 majors, but now 3 guys win over 20 and nobody says anything? How much is Big 3 and ATP paying you guys here, you all work for them! In an era where goat marketing makes everyone rich and where they have all the incentives to promote the goat status? Yeah, seems legit.


Bionic Poster
Before masters had byes, Fed played six matches in Canada including several 3-setters, and with the USO round the corner Fed obviously wasn't willing to play all out at Cincy (y)

mike danny

Bionic Poster
Before masters had byes, Fed played six matches in Canada including several 3-setters, and with the USO round the corner Fed obviously wasn't willing to play all out at Cincy (y)
Yeah, Fed didn't tank, but he probably figured that unless the win would come easy, he is not going to fight tooth and nail for it.
Still remember how frustrated and irritated was Federer with the 18 y/o Murray's defense and rally skills. He wasn't used to such a resilience outside clay those days. Ehh...