Andy Murray suffered a worse ending to his troubled season than he could possibly have imagined with humiliation against Roger Federer in front of his home crowd in London.
Qualifying for the ATP World Tour Finals at the O2 Arena appeared to be a high point to finish on but it certainly did not feel that way after a 6-0 6-1 thrashing.
Murray was two points away from losing 6-0 6-0 for the first time since he was a 16-year-old amateur playing on the lowly Futures circuit.
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 in 2009, while it was his heaviest loss for seven-and-a-half years.
Federer was already guaranteed a spot in the semi-finals and his display was proof once again that at 33 he is playing some of his best tennis.
But, as good as the Swiss maestro was, Murray was awful, and he made no attempt to hide his disappointment.
“It was a tough night,” said the world No 6, who won only eight points in a 24-minute first set he knew he needed to win to stand any chance of making progress.
“I’ve lost slam finals and stuff, which has been very tough. But in terms of the way the match went, it was not ideal from my side of the court - far from it.
“He played exceptionally well. That’s for sure. I can say I’m disappointed with my level tonight. But if I played well, he probably still would have won anyway.
“Obviously, 6-0 6-0, that’s never happened to me in my (professional) career. I think 6-0 6-1 has maybe happened once to me before. So it’s very disappointing, especially in a match like that.
“I would have obviously hoped to have done a lot better than that. It wasn’t what I was looking for when I went on the court.
“In terms of the nature of the match, when he’s extremely loose like he was tonight, he was obviously through in the group, he was able to maybe try some shots that he might not try in other situations.
“But everything he tried tonight came off. He has the ability to do that.”
Federer insisted he took no pleasure from handing one of his biggest rivals such a comprehensive beating and was happy he did not win 6-0 6-0.
Asked how he felt at 6-0 5-0, Federer said: “Not so cool because I wouldn’t want to be in that position.
“I was happy to get it done. At the end I was happy I didn’t win the second to last game to be quite honest. It’s uncomfortable. I don’t like it.”
Joining Federer in the semi-finals from Group B is debutant Kei Nishikori, who defeated David Ferrer - a late substitute for the injured Milos Raonic - 4-6 6-4 6-1.
Group A will be decided on Friday, with defending champion Novak Djokovic taking on Tomas Berdych, where a win would secure his progress and ensure he finishes the season as world number one.
Stan Wawrinka faces Marin Cilic in the evening match.
ATP World Tour Finals results from Thursday
Kei Nishikori bt David Ferrer 4-6, 6-4, 6-1
Roger Federer bt Andy Murray 6-0, 6-1
Daniel Nestor/Nenad Zimonjic bt Marcel Granollers/Marc Lopez 6-7, 6-3, 11/9
Julien Benneteau/Edouard Roger-Vasselin bt Ivan Dodig/Marcelo Melo 4-6, 6-2, 10/8
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