Murray Beats Nadal To Move Into Madrid Final – ATP World Tour

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Andy Murray will play for his second consecutive Mutua Madrid Open final on Sunday after beating Rafael Nadal 7-5, 6-4 on Saturday. The World No. 2, who broke through against Nadal last year in Madrid to win his first ATP World Tour Masters 1000 title on clay, will play Novak Djokovic or Kei Nishikori and go for his 12th Masters 1000 title.

“I think I did well,” Murray said. “I felt like I was aggressive throughout. When I had to defend, I did that well, so it was good.”

The Brit controlled play for much of the match with a worldly mix of deep groundstrokes and deceptive drop shots. And when he needed to rely on his booming serve, he could. After breaking to love to claim the opener in just over an hour, Murray gained control of the second set with a break at 3-2. The next game, however, Nadal had two break points of his own to crawl back into the match against the No. 2 seed. But Murray climbed out of the hole, hitting a service winner to go up 5-2.

“In general, he was a little bit better than me,” Nadal said, “and we have to congratulate him for his victory and recognise that he played better than me in the important moments.”

At 3-5 in the second set, Nadal looked to be making a comeback again when he broke Murray. But the World No. 2 broke back to advance to Sunday’s final. The Brit hit eight aces and erased 11 of 13 break points faced during the match. “When he had opportunities, I think I served pretty well in a lot of them,” Murray said, “and [I] also was trying to play aggressive, offensive tennis at those moments. I wasn’t backing off at all.”

Murray became the first player ever to beat Nadal at the same clay tournament in back-to-back years. “It’s big. Obviously it’s not easy. Not loads of players have won against Rafa on clay throughout his career,” Murray said. “Very pleased to have beaten him this year. Big, big step for me from where I was four or five weeks ago. I’m going back in the right direction again.”

Last year’s finalists, who practised together last week in Mallorca, have gone back and forth on clay in recent years. Murray beat Nadal in straight sets at last year’s final in Madrid. But at last month’s Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters, Nadal got the better of the Brit, coming back from a set down to win. The Spaniard still leads their FedEx ATP Head2Head rivalry 17-7.

“I had another positive week. I made it to the semi-finals. I think I’m very consistent every week,” Nadal said. “Today mentally I think I was okay. I fought a lot until the end. I tried to look for solutions, and I think I did that; it wasn’t enough.”

Murray needs to win Sunday’s final to remain at No. 2 in the Emirates ATP Rankings. “Tomorrow back to a right-hander again. Both guys hit the ball much flatter than Rafa, so it’s different,” Murray said. “Obviously enjoy the win today, but prepare as best you can for tomorrow’s match and try and defend the title.”

Murray Beats Nadal To Move Into Madrid Final – ATP World Tour