Andy Murray outclassed by Rafael Nadal at Wimbledon
Rafael Nadal ruthlessly ended Andy Murray’s Wimbledon dream for another year with a commanding 6-4 7-6(6) 6-4 victory.
Murray can feel aggrieved at losing the opening set as his impressive serving largely limited the 2008 Wimbledon champion.
The problem was his Spanish opponent’s unerring nerve. Nadal managed to surpass Murray’s first serve percentage and limited his mistakes to a sole unforced error in the whole first set.
The relentless pressure from the second seed finally took its toll when, in the vital ninth game, Murray hit a wayward forehand long to hand Nadal a virtual set point.
Inevitably, Nadal then sealed his chance to wrap up a tense set 6-4.
In the second set Murray secured three successive service games to love while causing problems on the Spaniard’s serve.
Murray forced Nadal to serve to stay in the set on two occasions, but the 24-year-old relishes the big points and it was no surprise to see the second set decided by an enthralling tie-break.
The Scot surged into an early 2-0 lead with a rasping cross-court forehand leaving Nadal stranded. But the seven-time Grand Slam champion hit back and managed to level the tie-break at 5-5.
A surprisingly nervy Nadal then hit a double-fault to hand Murray a vital set point. Murray, however, was unable capitalise. The opportunity evaporated and Nadal went on to claim a two-set lead with an overpowering forehand.
In the third set the British No.1 showed tremendous character as he banished the demons from the tense tie-break, immediately breaking Nadal to gain the advantage in the opening moments of the set.
But again Nadal fought back, this time breaking Murray in the seventh game to restore parity.
With the momentum very much in Nadal’s favour, Murray began to crumble. The No.2 seed held his serve to heap pressure on the Scot, forcing his opponent serve to stay in the match.
Uncertainty swept across Centre Court and one could anticipate Nadal’s desire to finish the match off.
There was to be no resurgence from Murray and he soon faced match point.
His participation at this year’s Championships came to an end with a half-volley which bounced long as Nadal fell to the ground in elation before taking part in a heartfelt embrace with Murray at the net.
What was said? According to Nadal he wished Murray all the best for the rest of the season.
Nadal will now face Tomas Berydch in Sunday’s final as he looks to add to his 2008 crown.