Andy gets the better of injured Nadal
Originally published on: 26/02/10 11:26
Andy Murray claimed his third successive victory over world No.1 Rafael Nadal in Rotterdam on Sunday in a contest dominated by a knee injury to the world No.1.
Murray added to victories he notched up over the Spaniard at last years US Open and at an exhibition event in Abu Dhabi in January by beating the man from Mallorca 6-3, 4-6, 6-0 at the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament on Sunday. It takes Murrays ATP record against Nadal to won 2, lost 5.
‘It shows how good a player he is – he was still managing to beat me on one leg’ – Murray
The Briton was the better player in a competitive first set but once Nadals knee problems surfaced at the beginning of the second, the Spaniard offered little resistance which ultimately made the result almost insignificant.
After taking an injury time-out at 2-1 in the second set, Nadal decided to battle on and somehow managed to force a decider but his knee problems severely affected his serve, forehand and movement in a one-sided third set.
It was a disappointing end to another great tournament for Murray, who played a near-perfect first set. The Scot served beautifully and his one break of serve in game six ultimately proved enough to bag the opener after 38 minutes.
However, after three games on serve that left Nadal up 2-1 in the second set, proceedings at the Ahoy Arena took a strange turn.
The Spanish top seed called an injury time-out to receive treatment on his knee and from that moment his game suffered significantly.
Bizarrely though, with his opponent less than 100% fit, Murray somehow lost his concentration and the match turned into a battle of who could hold serve.
And after seven successive breaks of serve from 2-1 it was Nadal who somehow stole the second set to level the match.
Despite that heroic effort however, the world No.1 had nothing left to offer in the decider and was forced to play the third set at well below 50% intensity.
As a result Murray soon raced through the final six games to claim the 10th title of his career and the second of the season after winning in Doha in January.
The 21-year-old from Dunblane isnt without his own injury problems. He has decided to pull out of this weeks ATP World Tour event in Marseille, France, with an ankle problem.
Afterwards Murray acknowledged his opponent’s difficulties during the encounter. “Sorry to Rafa, he told the crowd. I know he hurt his leg at the start of the second set. It shows how good a player he is – he was still managing to beat me on one leg.
“I’m happy with the week but not especially with the way that it ended. I can’t be disappointed with how I was playing. I knew something was wrong with Rafa as he took about 30kph off of his serve in the second set.
“But he was hitting so hard that it was rushing me. That was part of the reason for all of the breaks.
“I could see him shaking his head. But he’s not the kind of guy who’s going to stop chasing the ball unless there’s a good reason. He said that he sometimes has a knee problem when he plays a lot on hard court.”
Despite the defeat, Nadal said he was happy with his run to the final. “I came here tired from the Australian Open, but this was still a very important result for me.
“I have to look at the positive. This was a good week for me, especially to reach this final.”