Andy Murray’s troubled season ended in a humbling defeat to Roger Federer at the ATP World Tour Finals.
The Scot went into the clash with hopes of the straight-sets win that would have booked his spot in the semi-finals, but walked off the court 56 minutes later having lost 6-0 6-1.
Murray was two points away from losing 6-0 6-0 for the first time since he was a 16-year-old playing on the lowly Futures circuit.
He at least avoided that ignominy, but there was no consolation at all to be gained from the single game he managed to win against a player he has so often frustrated in the past.
In a tournament of one-sided matches, Murray now has the unwanted distinction of having suffered the worst defeat since the event moved to London’s O2 Arena in 2009, while it was his heaviest loss for seven and a half years.
Federer tried to conjure up some crumbs of comfort for his vanquished opponent, saying: “Clearly I’m very happy to play a good match.
“I knew I was qualified so maybe I went in a bit more relaxed. It’s not the way I thought it was going to go, but there’s always next year for Andy and hopefully he can have a good season.”
Kei Nishikori’s 4-6 6-4 6-1 victory over alternate David Ferrer earlier meant Murray knew he could not lose a set if he wanted to pip the Japanese player to a spot in the last four.
Nishikori said he would not be following the match because he wanted a “good dinner”, and he would barely have tucked into his starter when his progress was secured after a first set which lasted just 24 minutes.
With his hopes of progressing over, Murray’s attention turned to trying to salvage something, but the longer the match went on, the worse things got for him.
He had two chances to win a game at 3-0, but Federer simply would not take his foot off Murray’s throat and it was not until the penultimate game that he finally got on the board.
Earlier, Ferrer had stepped in after Milos Raonic pulled out with a thigh injury.