World Tour Finals: Andy Murray has belief - Roger Federer

By Piers NewberyBBC Sport at the O2 Arena
Murray relishing Federer showdown
ATP World Tour Finals, O2 Arena, London
20:00 GMT: Group B - Andy Murray v Roger Federer
Coverage: Live commentary on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra and text commentary on BBC Sport website.

Roger Federer expects Andy Murray to be boosted by his recent form when they meet in the ATP World Tour Finals in London on Thursday.

Federer is already through to the semi-finals following Kei Nishikori's victory over David Ferrer, while Murray must win in straight sets to join him.

And the Swiss thinks Murray is getting back to his best after a strong end to the year secured his place in London.

"I'm sure his belief is higher now again," said six-time champion Federer.

"Beating David 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."

Former British number one Tim Henman
"Roger is an easier match-up for Andy than Kei Nishikori, because it's much clearer with the game plan that he has to play. It's clear that, if he's a little bit defensive, Roger will dictate with his serve and his forehand. That inevitably makes Andy play more aggressively. Andy has a good record against Federer and he knows what it takes. I wouldn't be surprised if he comes out on top."

Murray must beat Federer in straight sets after Ferrer - a late injury replacement for Milos Raonic - lost to Nishikori the afternoon session.

Federer and Murray share an 11-11 record in previous meetings but the 33-year-old Swiss has won both their matches in 2014, and goes into Thursday's clash with two wins under his belt this week.

He has also won all his previous meetings with Murray at the O2 Arena, where he receives huge support.

"The crowd will probably be more split when I play against Roger but that's no surprise," Murray said in his BBC Sport column.

Amelie Mauresmo coaching Andy Murray
Former Wimbledon champion Amelie Mauresmo watches Andy Murray in London

"I've played him all over the world - in Asia, America, Australia, Canada and Europe, at Wimbledon and three times at the O2 - and pretty much everywhere he goes he gets very good support."

Murray said he had been encouraged by the words of his coach, Amelie Muaresmo, who once lost her opening match at the WTA Finals before going on to reach the final.

"I'm trying to share some experiences that he can relate to," the Frenchwoman told BBC Sport.

Colin Fleming, Andy Murray's Great Britain Davis Cup doubles partner
"We hear them both say it is a pleasure to play each other, but they get under each other's skin on court and really want to beat each other. I'm expecting a real fierce encounter. I'd probably put Federer favourite for the match, but he's already won twice so I'm going to predict a very close match - won by Andy Murray."

"He has a big match coming up but it's once a year you play in an event where you can lose on the first day, and you can still get your way through it. He knows that pretty well."

She added: "He's OK; he's good physically. Mentally, he's ready for what's coming up on Thursday evening. He's preparing well for that match against Roger; it's a tough one but maybe for both of them.

"It's about him first and then obviously adjusting a little bit to what Roger is doing very well, or not as good."

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