Nadal cuts Murray down to size to reach semi-finals

Wed Nov 18, 2015 5:21pm EST
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By Martyn Herman

LONDON (Reuters) - Rafael Nadal cut world number two Andy Murray down to size with an impressive 6-4 6-1 victory at the ATP World Tour Finals on Wednesday which provided further evidence of the Spaniard's return to his former powers.

A distracted Murray, who bizarrely clipped his fringe with a pair of scissors during one changeover early on, capitulated, but only after Nadal had softened him up with the kind of ferocious hitting that earned him 14 grand slam titles.

Ripping forehands to all corners of the court and moving smoothly, the 29-year-old dominated throughout to qualify for the semi-finals with a match to spare and leave Murray facing a Friday decider against Stanislas Wawrinka.

Nadal's progress could have been held up had compatriot David Ferrer beaten Wawrinka in the evening session, but having led 5-2 in the first set and having a set point, Ferrer succumbed, losing 7-5 6-2 to the Swiss world number four.

Having failed to win a grand slam title for the first year since 2004, and temporarily sliding to 10th in the world rankings, the naysayers have been out in force predicting Nadal's demise but the former world number one continued his recent renaissance against Murray.

It was a powerful performance that would have had his worldwide army of fans purring.

"For me to be able to play at that level against such a great player is good news," Nadal, who will top the group whatever happens against Ferrer on Friday, told reporters.

"Happy for that. I just want to try to keep working the same way to keep confirming that I am in the completely right direction. Today I felt free. I was enjoying on court."   Continued...

Tennis - Barclays ATP World Tour Finals - O2 Arena, London - 18/11/15
Men's Singles - Rafael Nadal of Spain celebrates winning his match against Andy Murray of Great Britain
Reuters / Suzanne Plunkett