Rafael Nadal defeated Andy Murray 6-4, 6-1 on Wednesday afternoon when the two clashed at the ATP World Tour Finals at the O2 Arena in London. Despite trading blows for most of the first set, Murray would crumble under pressure in the ninth game and the momentum would swing in Nadal’s favor. The Spaniard looked back to his best as he dominated the second set, playing at a high intensity and sustaining a consistent performance throughout the match.
He sealed a straight sets victory with a trademark forehand and will be hoping for a semi-final place at the tournament. It was a nervy start to the match with Nadal opening proceedings with a fault while Murray hit into the net after a short rally. A number of unforced errors by the Spaniard handed the Briton the break point in the first game, but the 14-time Major winner would show great resilience in the games to follow as he and the Scot traded blows in their battle for the first set.
Backhands, forehands, volleys, lobs, aces, enforced errors – this match had it all and it was turning out to be a wonderful exhibition of tennis as the players found themselves level at 4-4 after eight games. As the match progressed, the king of clay was growing stronger, better and faster while the Briton looked a frustrated figure. The ninth game marked the turning point in the match, as Nadal edged Murray to go ahead by 5-4.
The game that followed was simply a brilliant display of tennis the Spaniard, as he took control of the match and did not allow the two-time Major winner any comfortable returns, earning him a 40-0 point victory and a 6-4 set victory. Murray seemed to crumble under pressure in the second set as a revitalised Nadal went ahead 3-0 following a number of unforced errors by the Scotsman that included two double faults.
Murray started the fourth game positively, racing into a 40-0 lead, however two double faults almost cost him the game before he produced an unstoppable serve that won him the game and handed him a lifeline in the match. At 3-1, even though the momentum was with Nadal, the neutrals would have been hoping for a Murray comeback. The fifth game proved to be entertaining as Murray tried to rally his way back into the match before another unforced error handed Nadal the game point.
At 4-1, one could sense the disappointment in the air after Murray started the first set so brightly. Another error allowed Nadal to extend his lead in the sixth game and the Spaniard would regain the service as the match progressed into the seventh and what would be the final game of the match. A great bit of tennis would open up the court and Murray smashed a volley to level matters.
Nadal replied with an ace before he smashed a trademark forehand to win the game, the set and the match.