Andy Murray defeats Rafael Nadal to claim glory in Tokyo

Click to follow
The Independent Online

Andy Murray's dream run of form continued as he ended his Rafael Nadal hoodoo to win the Rakuten Japan Open Tennis Championship in stunning style in Tokyo this morning.

The Scot had won 11 matches in a row going into today's showpiece, but two of his three defeats in the last four months had come against the world number two who had also beaten him five times in a row.



And Murray's horror run looked set to continue when he dropped the first set, but he found the rhythm that helped him win in Thailand a week ago and only allowed Nadal to win two more games as he ran out a 3-6 6-2 6-0 winner.



As a result, Murray was able to lift his 20th career title and improve his chances of toppling Roger Federer as the world number three before the season is out.



The way he is playing at the moment suggests he would have beaten Nadal in the semi-finals of Wimbledon and the US Open had he have showed such form back then, but normal service seemed to be the order of the day when Nadal broke Murray early in the first set.



Murray's serve was shaky throughout the set, although Nadal failed to cash in and took it with just the one break.



Something happened to Murray during the end-of-set break, though, and he left his chair for the second seemingly a different player.



After adjusting some strapping on his ankle he began to dominate Nadal from the baseline and move him around, breaking through in the fourth game of the set.



Nadal, looking for a first hard court title since he won this event a year ago, then earned himself three break points at 0-40 but three aces from Murray saw him off and he then broke again to take the set and level the match.



What happened in the third set was very unlike Nadal, though, with the Majorcan almost conceding that Murray was headed for the victory as shot after shot found the corners and the baseline.



Murray broke three times to whitewash Nadal in the final set, before heading off court to prepare for the doubles final with brother Jamie.







"I played some great tennis, especially in the third set," Murray told http://www.atpworldtour.com afterwards.



"There was a lot of close games towards the end of the first set and beginning of the second and I managed to get the momentum and didn't give him many chances after that.



"For sure in the third set it was some of the best tennis I've played against him. I was very consistent, didn't make too many mistakes and kept a cool head in the important moments."

PA

Comments