Tim Clement looks ahead to Sunday's semi-finals at the ATP World Tour Finals, with Andy Murray favourite to beat Roger Federer.
By Tim Clement
Last Updated: 10/11/12 9:45pm
If ever there was a clear indication that expectations of Andy Murray are cranking up, they are perfectly apparent in his status as favourite against Roger Federer for the first time in his career.
Not just favourite to beat the 17-time Grand Slam champion but favourite to beat him at an event where he has triumphed a record six times.
Add to that the fact that their meeting comes indoors at the O2 Arena, where Federer is as comfortable as he comes after triumphing in 2010 and 2011, and you have a real statement of faith.
The Scot's liberation since his first major win has seen him adapt the sort of approach that makes fans to sit back and applaud on crunch points, rather than edge forward and wince.
The new, more aggressive Murray looks at home on the indoor courts and, while he succumbed to a comeback to Novak Djokovic in his second match, has heightened hopes even further with his performances in London.
Djokovic is the only player who heads into the semi-finals undefeated and warrants his place as the favourite, at 5/4 with Sky Bet, but there are reasons the believe he can be stopped.
Murray would have taken a 4-2 lead in their 2012 head-to-head record if he had of taken one of his five match points in Shanghai, while the Scot has a superior record indoors.
Nine of his 24 titles have come indoors while Djokovic has failed to add to his modest tally of five since 2009.
Juan Martin Del Potro can also justifiably believe in his chances of stopping the world number one, having won two of their last four meetings in the last 12 months.
Somewhat oddly, both victories have come while representing his country, first in the Davis Cup and the Olympics - read into that what you may.
The Argentine will be playing relatively free of expectations after upsetting the odds to book his place in the final four with a win over Federer.
The 24-year-old is currently the 8/1 outsider for the title with Sky Bet, but with three titles landed indoors already in 2012 he should be full of confidence.
While success in London will yet again require Murray to beat the very best, adding the ATP World Tour Finals title to his collection will prompt conclusions that he is just that.