Moya reveals how to beat Nadal after Henman late show

Rafael Nadal has a style that many of the best players have yet to fathom, but if anyone knows his game it is Carlos Moya. The French Open champion regards Moya, a fellow Majorcan, as his mentor and closest friend on tour, but the 29-year-old showed no mercy when they met in the second round of the Nasdaq-100 Open here last night.

Moya beat the No 2 seed 2-6, 6-1, 6-1 in a manner that would surely have surprised even the likes of Roger Federer, who has lost three of his four matches against Nadal, including last month's final of the Dubai Duty Free Open. Indeed, the world No 1's only victory over the Spaniard came in a pulsating five-set final here last year.

Having lost the first set all too quickly, Moya soon had his 19-year-old friend scampering around every corner of the court. His bludgeoning forehand was a particularly potent weapon, but there was also plenty of finesse, typified by the lobs which finished the second and third sets. Nadal looked particularly vulnerable on his backhand and said later that he was still troubled by the ankle injury which had kept him out of the game for three months.

It was not the best of days for some of the tournament's biggest names. Justine Henin-Hardenne, the other French Open champion, became the first major loser in the women's competition when she was beaten 7-5, 6-4 by Meghann Shaugnessy, of the United States, while Andre Agassi, six times a champion here, announced his withdrawal from the tournament, saying he was "way less than 100 per cent" because of a back injury.

Agassi admitted that it was "definitely possible" that he might never play again, but still hopes to compete at Wimbledon. He is missing the entire clay court season to improve his chances of doing so.

The American's announcement came just a few hours after the longest day in Tim Henman's career ended in the sweetest of victories. It was at 1.35 yesterday morning, in front of a surprisingly large crowd of several hundred spectators, that Marat Safin served a double-fault to give the Briton a hugely encouraging 6-3, 6-3 victory.

Henman arrived at Crandon Park at 9.15 on Thursday morning, practised at 10, went to the gym at 11 and returned to his hotel at midday to prepare for his evening match. More than an inch of rain ­ half Miami's average for the month ­ halted play for several hours in the afternoon, but the weather relented and the penultimate match, between Sania Mirza and Anna Tatishvili, started just before 9.30pm. However, it developed into a two hour, 40-minute marathon.

Having been told at 10.30 that they would not have to play if it meant starting after 11.30, Henman and Safin declined a later offer to hold their match over. When they finally started 20 minutes after midnight, the Briton was immediately into his stride. He served with great accuracy and returned even more impressively, seeing the ball so clearly that he regularly chipped and charged to break the hard-hitting Russian four times.

Although Henman's ranking has been on the slide (at No 56 he is now British No 3 and needs to match his quarter-final performance here last year to avoid slipping further), he feels he has been playing well and was not surprised by this performance. "I had a good game plan," Henman said. "I kept putting the pressure on, irrespective of his passing ability."

The tactics will change in the next round against Lleyton Hewitt as Henman revealed that he might have finally found a way to beat an opponent who has won all eight of their encounters. They played a practice match in Indian Wells earlier this month and Henman, adopting a more patient approach, won 6-3, 6-3. "I feel good about my game and I don't think he's playing as well as he can do," Henman said.

* Elena Baltacha, Anne Keothavong, Katie O'Brien and Claire Curran have been named in the British squad for the Fed Cup matches in Plovdiv, Bulgaria, next month.

News
A model of a Neanderthal man on display at the National Museum of Prehistory in Dordogne, France
science
News
Richard Dawkins dedicated his book 'The Greatest Show on Earth' to Josh Timonen
newsThat's Richard Dawkins on babies with Down Syndrome
Arts and Entertainment
Eye of the beholder? 'Concrete lasagne' Preston bus station
architectureWhich monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?
Extras
indybest
PROMOTED VIDEO
Travel
Dinosaurs Unleashed at the Eden Project
travel
Arts and Entertainment
music
Sport
football
Life and Style
This month marks the 20th anniversary of the first online sale
techDespite a host of other online auction sites and fierce competition from Amazon, eBay is still the most popular e-commerce site in the UK
News
i100
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape
eBay's enduring appeal: Online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce retailer

eBay's enduring appeal

The online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce site
Culture Minister Ed Vaizey: ‘lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird’

'Lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird'

Culture Minister Ed Vaizey calls for immediate action to address the problem
Artist Olafur Eliasson's latest large-scale works are inspired by the paintings of JMW Turner

Magic circles: Artist Olafur Eliasson

Eliasson's works will go alongside a new exhibition of JMW Turner at Tate Britain. He tells Jay Merrick why the paintings of his hero are ripe for reinvention
Josephine Dickinson: 'A cochlear implant helped me to discover a new world of sound'

Josephine Dickinson: 'How I discovered a new world of sound'

After going deaf as a child, musician and poet Josephine Dickinson made do with a hearing aid for five decades. Then she had a cochlear implant - and everything changed
Greggs Google fail: Was the bakery's response to its logo mishap a stroke of marketing genius?

Greggs gives lesson in crisis management

After a mishap with their logo, high street staple Greggs went viral this week. But, as Simon Usborne discovers, their social media response was anything but half baked
Matthew McConaughey has been singing the praises of bumbags (shame he doesn't know how to wear one)

Matthew McConaughey sings the praises of bumbags

Shame he doesn't know how to wear one. Harriet Walker explains the dos and don'ts of fanny packs
7 best quadcopters and drones

Flying fun: 7 best quadcopters and drones

From state of the art devices with stabilised cameras to mini gadgets that can soar around the home, we take some flying objects for a spin
Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

The midfielder returned to the Premier League after two years last weekend. The controversial character had much to discuss after his first game back
Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

British No 1 knows his consistency as well as his fitness needs working on as he prepares for the US Open after a ‘very, very up and down’ year
Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness

A descent into madness in America's heartlands

David Usborne arrived in Ferguson, Missouri to be greeted by a scene more redolent of Gaza and Afghanistan
BBC’s filming of raid at Sir Cliff’s home ‘may be result of corruption’

BBC faces corruption allegation over its Sir Cliff police raid coverage

Reporter’s relationship with police under scrutiny as DG is summoned by MPs to explain extensive live broadcast of swoop on singer’s home