Murray triumphs in Abu Dhabi
Originally published on: 26/02/10 12:11
Both players at times produced strokes in keeping with the exhibition status of the tournament, much to the delight of an enthusiastic crowd, but Murray was on top as he took the first set.
The Scot seemed to tire as Nadal won the second, but found a second wind in a scintillating third and claimed a 6-4 5-7 6-3 win.
Murray, who had lost five of their previous six encounters, broke in game three as he brought to an end a thrilling rally with a backhand pass which left Nadal stranded in mid-court, and found his service rhythm to consolidate his advantage.
Both men were producing some good tennis with one backhand lob from Murray a particular highlight, but he failed to clear Nadal with a similar shot in game eight before a double-fault handed a break to the Spaniard.
But the world number one went long in the next game to give Murray back his advantage immediately and the Scot served out the first set.
The second set went with serve until in game five errors from both players, including a Nadal double, took it to four deuces – and Murray finally got the break when his opponent went long.
The Spaniard broke back immediately and held dominantly. A seemingly tiring Murray successfully served to stay in the set at 4-5, but could not repeat the feat at 5-6, sending a forehand long to hand the second set to Nadal.
Murray just about held on to level at 2-2 in the third set before doing his best to rouse the crowd, and a break could have gone to either player in a succession of seesaw games.
But it went to Murray in game seven after a series of breathtaking rallies and the Scot consolidated to take a 5-3 lead. Nadal then found the net in the next game to hand the 250,000 US dollars (Â£173,000) first prize to Murray.