For the first time since 2007, Roger Federer managed to claim six ATP titles in a single season in 2012, conquering Rotterdam, Dubai, Indian Wells, Madrid, Wimbledon and Cincinnati to finish second in the standings behind Novak Djokovic.
Andy Murray was the third-strongest link that year (Nadal was forced to miss the second part of the season) thanks to his first Major title at the US Open, heading to the ATP Finals as one of the title contenders in front of the home fans.
In Group A, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray stood ahead of Tomas Berdych and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga to find themselves in the semis against Roger Federer and Juan Martin del Potro who emerged at the top in Group B. On November 11, Roger Federer took down Andy Murray 7-6, 6-2 in an hour and 34 minutes to write history as the third player with eight ATP Finals title matches after Ivan Lendl and Boris Becker, hoping to defend the title he won a year ago.
It was the 19th clash between the Swiss and the Briton and Roger grabbed the ninth victory, the third of the season from five encounters they had in total throughout the year. Both players struggled to find the first serve and it was Federer who drew more from that, defending the second serve nicely and facing only two break points in the entire clash.
On the other hand, he broke Andy three times from as many opportunities, enough to seal the deal in straight sets and set the final meeting with Novak Djokovic. Federer had more winners and fewer unforced errors, also forcing more mistakes from his opponent to take 15 points more and march towards the finish line with a rock-solid performance in the second set.
The Swiss had a clear advantage in the shortest range up to four strokes while nothing could separate them in the more extended rallies, where Andy should have had the lead if he wanted to challenge Federer. The Briton grabbed a break in the very first game of the match, cementing the advantage after hold in game two following a forehand error from Roger.
A service winner sent Murray 3-1 up, bringing the sixth game home with a volley winner to remain in front. Federer landed a volley winner in game seven to reduce the deficit, forcing an error from Murray a few minutes later to pull the break back and level the score at 4-4.
The Swiss held at 15 to gain the first advantage since the beginning of the clash, delivering another great hold before Andy held at 15 to set up a tie break. There, Roger grabbed an extended rally at 5-4 and closed the set in the 12th point after forcing a backhand error from Murray, 61 minutes since the first point!
In the third game of the second set, Roger grabbed five straight points on the return to break Andy and gain a massive boost, holding at 15 in the next game to cement the advantage and move 3-1 ahead, taking 13 of the last 17 points.
A service winner pushed Federer 4-2 in front, placing a perfect backhand crosscourt winner to secure another break and sealing the deal with four winners in the eighth game to book the place in his eighth ATP Finals title match from 11 tournaments played.