Brilliant Murray sets up Nadal clash
Saturday 26 July 2008
Andy Murray described ending his Novak Djokovic hoodoo as the biggest confidence boost of his fledgling career.
The British number one, who had lost all four previous matches against his good friend and former junior rival since the pair turned professional, tore up the form guide with a straight sets victory over the world number three to reach the semi-finals of the Rogers Cup in Toronto.
The 21-year-old's 6-3 7-6 (7/3) win over the man who is exactly one week his junior was undoubtedly one of the most impressive results of his career, along with his two victories over Roger Federer.
Assessing the magnitude of his win over the defending champion, Murray said on Sky Sports Xtra: "Mentally, that's probably the biggest one of my career.
"He's going to be around for a long time.
"So to come through against him, especially when he beat me convincingly four times, is very satisfying."
Closely matched during their junior days, Djokovic has left Murray trailing in his wake in recent years, winning a grand slam at the Australian Open and crushing the Scot emphatically in their three most recent meetings.
"The last few times I've played against him, I really struggled to read his game," Murray admitted.
"But I've watched a lot of his matches lately and I've seen the patterns of play he likes to use and I read his game much better.
"He hit very few winners, I think.
"That was one of the most satisfying things for me."
World number nine Murray needed to be at his defensive best for long periods to repel Djokovic's powerful groundstrokes.
The Scot's never-say-die approach paid off as the errors flowed from his opponent, who he broke once in a comfortable first set before trading two breaks in a more nervy second.
Murray got off to the best possible start in the match, breaking in game two and racing to a 3-0 lead.
The rest of the first set went with serve as Murray chased down every ball to frustrate his opponent.
The second set began equally brightly for the Scot, who broke immediately to maintain his stranglehold on the contest.
But Djokovic put Murray's next service game under tremendous pressure, and it paid off as he levelled.
At 2-2, Djokovic's forehand broke down to hand Murray another break point, which he took thanks to another error from the Serb.
Murray was close to a virtually unassailable lead in game seven when he was a point away from a double break.
But Djokovic dug his way out of trouble and immediately broke to love to level again at 4-4.
A brilliant Murray service return set up break point again in game nine but the Serb saved.
Serving to stay in the set, Murray blew a 30-0 lead to concede set point but Djokovic failed to capitalise.
He was made to rue that lapse in the tie-break, with Murray claiming a 6-1 lead before serving out the match.
Murray to face Nadal
Andy Murray will play world number two Rafael Nadal in the semi-finals of the Rogers Cup in Toronto after the Spaniard defeated Richard Gasquet 6-7 (12/14) 6-2 6-1 on Friday.
Gasquet edged a first set that lasted 75 minutes before Nadal soon returned to form as he eased to victory with a dominant performance in the next two sets.
The win extends Nadal's winning streak to 27 matches
It means the British number one will play Nadal for the second time in less than a month after Murray was completely dominated by his opponent at Wimbledon, crashing out at the quarter-final stage after losing in straight sets 6-3 6-2 6-4.
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