Andy Murray has advanced to the Madrid open finals after defeating home favourite, Rafael Nadal in a tense semifinal clash.
The British world No 2 ended Nadal’s 13-match unbeaten run on clay after looking back to his best on his favoured surface with victories in Monte Carlo and Barcelona in recent weeks.Murray sealed a devastating 7-5 6-4 success to send him through to Sunday’s final where he will play the winner of the match between Novak Djokovic and Kei Nishikori, who face each other later on Saturday.Murray broke twice in the opening set to take it and despite squandering a match point at 5-3 in the second he raised his game to get the job done and gain revenge over the Spaniard for his Monte Carlo semi-final defeat last month.
This was arguably a more creditable result than the final 12 months ago, because this time Nadal was on a 13-match winning streak, whereas in 2015 he was suffering a mini confidence crisis. It was Murray’s seventh win in 24 attempts against the Spaniard.Not that Nadal can be said to be back to his best, and his relative lack of composure compared to his opponent on the big points was the key to the match.Nadal was only able to convert two out of 13 break points, although that was largely down to Murray often being able to pull out a big first serve when it was most needed, even if his first delivery was inconsistent at other times.
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He fought off a strong challenge by Nadal, serving eight aces and saving 11 break points to win a rematch of last year’s final and after his victory he told Sky Sports: “I think I used my forehand pretty good during the match. I was able to push him back behind the baseline.”I felt as though I made a lot of returns in play – I didn’t make too many mistakes on the return so was able to make him work hard on his service games.”Against Rafa, he doesn’t serve as hard as everyone else but he puts a lot of pressure on your return because if you don’t hit a good one he dictates the points straight away with the forehand. I was able to get some good direction on the forehand and I think that helped me today.”
Murray who has won seven of his last eight matches on clay, needs to win the title this weekend to avoid being overtaken by Roger Federer in the rankings.