Murray walks into final after Nadal limps out
For Andy Murray's sake it is probably just as well that ranking points and prize money are distributed according to the round you reach rather than the time you spend on court. The 24-year-old Scot will play in the final of the Miami Masters tomorrow despite having played only three matches in the first six rounds of the tournament.
Following a bye in the first round and a walk-over against the injured Milos Raonic in the third, Murray was handed a free passage through the semi-finals last night when Rafael Nadal withdrew because of an injury to his left knee. Novak Djokovic was due to meet Juan Monaco last night for the right to face Murray in the final. The champion will earn 1,000 ranking points and $659,775 (about £412,000) in prize money.
"To get two [walk-overs] in one week is strange," Murray said. "That doesn't happen often really at all. It's never happened to me before, so I don't really know how I'm going to feel for the final, but I'll definitely be fresh."
It will be Murray's third final of the year following his victory over Alexandr Dolgopolov in Brisbane and his defeat to Roger Federer in Dubai. The world No 4, who won in Miami three years ago, will be attempting to claim the 23rd singles title of his career and his ninth in the Masters Series. He has won two Masters Series titles every year since 2008.
For Nadal, who struggled with his knee in his quarter-final victory over Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, the injury is a concern as he prepares for his favourite part of the season. The 25-year-old Spaniard has won 32 of his 46 titles on clay and has a large tally of ranking points to defend in the next 11 weeks. Last year he won three tournaments during the European clay-court season, including the French Open.
Nadal, who has had extensive treatment for tendonitis in both knees in recent years, took time off after reaching the Australian Open final in January. He says he had problems with his knee before he resumed competition earlier this month.
"I have to see a doctor but it looks like nothing really different to what happened a few times in the past," he said. "Even if today I have a really bad knee and the last couple of days were tough for me, the positive thing is the tendon has improved a lot in the last couple of years."
The world No 2 said the injury had not prevented him from playing at 100 per cent in his previous tournament at Indian Wells but had worsened in Miami. "My knee is not ready to play good tennis," he said in announcing his withdrawal.
"I take no pleasure from this but I cannot do anything else. I am not ready to compete and I cannot go on court and lie to everybody."
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