Yes - I was a bit confused about the reference regarding Murray's 3 set wins. The only thing I could think is that Fed's mindset has gotten so that he only now really plays at his best in a GS situation.
He plays his best when he's at his best physically like everyone else, as he's hyper consistent at GS level against guys he should beat he can get to finals without playing particularly well when his MS rivals are in a foregiving mood. At his peak, he was so far ahead of his rivals that even if he dropped off he would still look like he playing rather well in the process of winning GS's.
From what I've checked over the past month I can believe he genuinely goes into Doha expecting to underperform because he knows peaking early isn't adviseable and he's not alone here. For every other tournament, he goes in trying to gain confidence like everyone else, in some tournaments he plays well, in others he doesn't and as in MS there are guys to take advantage of the situation unlike in GS he gets knocked out at the SF stage rather than in the F.
There are matches that can be dismissed as far as thinking about future GS matches but those cases are few and far between rather than every tournament outside a GS like some people like to claim. The inexperienced GS players will always be disadvantaged against experienced opponents which helps Federer a lot, but for neutral match ups against the other top guys that should be pretty irrelevent.
If Federer met Murray in a Bo3 MS match this week he would have won and unless he drops back to serving how he was last year inbetween the AO and Dubai he isn't going to be much fun to play against in the next 3 hard court tourmanets either. As he's relatively old his window of peak performance should hopefully be pretty narrow which will hopefully give everyone else a chance at the USO and possibly even Wimbledon.