Australian Open: Andy Murray loses in four sets to Roger Federer
Last Updated: 22/01/14 3:04pm
Andy Murray's fighting qualities were not enough to prevent him bowing out of the Australian Open against Roger Federer.
Murray is one of the few players to hold a winning record over the 17-time grand slam winner but he looked down and out as Federer powered through the first two sets.
The British No 1, though, hit back from match points down to take the encounter into a fourth set on Rod Laver Arena.
The 26-year-old Scot, who underwent back surgery at the end of last year, could not perform a miraculous comeback, though, as Federer clinched a 6-3 6-4 6-7 (8-6) 6-3 victory.
Federer had appeared to be on the slide after a difficult 2013 season, with the Swiss dropping down the rankings and registering just one ATP Tour title.
However his partnership with coach Stefan Edberg appears to have paid dividends and revitalised his play - with Federer reaching the final in Brisbane in the build-up to the first grand slam of the year and breezing through the opening rounds.
Federer was simply unplayable at times, with Murray appearing to be at a loss at how to deal with the sixth seed's new attacking approach.
Federer broke the Murray serve in the fourth game of the first set and then again in the fifth game of the second - with the British No 1 unable to find a reply.
Murray was unable to create a single break point chance in the first two sets, with Federer's serve doing the damage.
Murray did save three break points at the start of the third and another in game three as Federer went for the kill.
But Murray was playing his best tennis of the match and although he was broken in the ninth game, he hit back immediately to deny Federer - the Scot winning the second of two break points.
A mini-break in the tiebreak handed Federer two match points, but Murray's fighting quality comes to the fore as he saved them and clinched the set at the first possible opportunity.
Clearly upset at missing his chance, Federer went after the Murray serve at the start of the fourth set - forcing the Scot to save six break points during a 19-minute game.
Murray, now showing signs of discomfort, was under more pressure in the sixth game but again Federer could not take his break chance.
But the four-time champion made no mistake in the eighth game as he broke to have the chance to serve for the match. This time there was to be no great escape as Federer held his nerve from 0-30 down to seal the win.