Weather holds up Murray
Originally published on: 26/02/10 12:00
Murray had lost all five of his previous meetings with Nadal, and had not won a set against the Spaniard since their first encounter at the 2007 Australian Open, most recently losing in the Wimbledon quarter-finals and in Toronto.
Yet the sixth seed stole a march on the new world number one by taking the first two sets 6-2 7-6 (7-5) at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Centre.
The 21-year-old Scot had pointed out the need to improve his return of serve as a key to success against Nadal and he signalled his intent by claiming the first point of the match with a forehand winner before the world number one held service.
Murray, a three-time ATP Tour winner this year, won his first service game to love and earned his first break in the next game.
He was in confident mood and he claimed a second break to take a 5-2 lead and serve for the set, which he claimed with a winning volley.
Nadal upped his game in the second set, holding off three break points in the third game. But Murray continued his attack of the left-hander’s serve, forcing the Spaniard to save two more break points in the fifth game. The Scot won his next service game to love with an ace down the middle to level the set at 5-5 on serve.
The set went into a tie-break, with Murray twice failing to capitalise on mini-breaks, the second time seeing him serve his first double fault of the match to let Nadal level at 3-3.
Murray had some luck when Nadal saw a return of his second serve bounce off the top of the net and fall the wrong side and he gained set point at 6-5 with Nadal serving and sending a backhand wide.
With Nadal 3-2 up in the third and about to begin serving for a 4-2 lead, chair umpire Steve Ullrich climbed down from his perch as light rain began to fall and checked the hardcourt surface for slippiness, sending the players back to their seats after two hours and one minute of play.