Saturday, April 18, 2009

Murray to face claycourt master Nadal in Monte semis

"If I was to beat Nadal [in the semifinal] it would be the best win of my career... I have to play the best match of my life to win."

- Andy Murray on the prospect of beating Rafael Nadal in the Monte Carlo semifinals on Saturday.

The world number 4 has just reached his first ever semifinal in a clay court event by beating a returning Nikolay Davydenko 7-6, 6-4, in the quarters on Friday.

Murray, who had to contest a delayed third round match against Fabio Fognini first on Friday before he came back to the courts to beat Davydenko, has an almost impossible test ahead of him in the semis, where he faces 4-time defending champion, Nadal.

Nadal, who has won his last 25 straight matches in Monte Carlo, has a 6-2 record lead over the Scot, and both those losses came on hardcourts.

The world number 1 also had to go through two matches on Friday, first he had to eliminate Nicolas Lapentti, then he brushed past Ivan Ljubicic. I say brushed past because when the match started, I headed downstairs to fix myself a quick snack and by the time I went back up, Rafa was shaking hands with Ljubicic at the net.

Although Murray's statement on having to play "the best match of his life" to beat Rafa seems a bit exaggerated, am sure many people will agree with him. For someone who had never gone past the 3rd round at any clay event prior to this week, Murray has a crazy task ahead of him. His only shot would be if Rafa has a really bad day and keeps committing errors, and the chances of that happening are about slim to none.

World number 3, Novak Djokovic, and 13th-seeded Stanislas Wawrinka will compete in the earlier semifinal on Saturday, scheduled at 13:30.

For the complete Murray audio interview with BBC, check here.


marooned84 said...

I too agree with him. I'd even say he would have to play the best match of this year to win a set!

I'll really enjoy watching those couple of matches!

Reem said...

Wawrinka - Djokovic just started. Looks like it's gonna be a tight one. I am very impressed with Wawrinka.

marooned84 said...

I just started watching and I'm impressed they only played 3 games! I guess Wawrinka is playing the tournament of his career! He's being very consistent.

Reem said...

Wawrinka has an awesome power game. He just needs to keep those random erratic forehands in line.

marooned84 said...

What happened to make Wawrinka dwindle that way? Do you think it's fatigue or Djokovic recovered himself? I have to say he's really good in coming back from the dead.

Reem said...

Djokovic is mentally stronger than Wawrinka. The Swiss had a lapse in concentration in the second set, and now in the third, he was a up a break but he lost his serve again right away. Djokovic does the whole focusing thing just a bit better than Wawrinka does.

Lets see if he can hold his nerve, and control those random loose shots.

marooned84 said...

Yeah u're right. He's also very experienced in big matches. Remember Murray last year? Wawrinka really reminds me of him in Wimbledon.

You're a very good analyzer :)

Reem said...

yes exactly. Djokovic knows how to play the big matches better. Wawrinka is trying to hit the lines every single point, even on the break points. Which is brave i know, but he needs to know when to play it safe and just put the ball in play, and when to be super aggressive and hit the lines.
Right now he is hitting amazing shots every now and then but the scoreline is 4-2 Djokovic. He allowed Djoko to win 4 straight games.

marooned84 said...

Well, not it's over. It was really entertaining to watch! I think Nadal would win this tournament even if he played with a woord racket!