(November 18, 2015) LONDON, UK – Despite a promising start for the Andy Murray with an immediate break, any signs of nerves from either player was eradicated once Rafael Nadal broke back, and then proceeded to take charge on Day four of the ATP World Tour Finals.
In a slightly more competitive first set, the pair stayed toe-to-toe with each other, but it was always the Spaniard who was hustling more, while Murray at times looked very bothered about everything.
Not even giving himself a haircut could change Murray’s momentum in the match. The Brit gave himself a little trim during a changeover in the first set.
“I had some hair in my eye, and I just wanted to get rid of it,” said Murray. “That literally took two seconds. That was it.”
The non-stop commentary to himself, his team, and engagement with the umpire all served to distract him from the fact that Nadal was very much in control of the set.
With a poor first serve percentage in the first set, things continued to slip away from the Brit rapidly, as nothing seemed to work. The odd occasions he did try to come forward did yield some hope, but it just was not consistent enough and Nadal rightly punished him royally for it soundly defeating Murray 6-4, 6-1, clinching the second spot in the semifinals.
He admitted: “He was hitting the ball extremely well from the back of the court, but I didn’t really help myself. I served poorly at the end of the first set and all through the second. That’s not going to be good enough against him when he’s playing that well.”
It leaves Murray with a dilemma, as all depends on the outcome of the night match against Stan Wawrinka. The Swiss had been listless against Nadal, barely trying at times, with a shocking amount of errors leaking from every point on his racquet, it could make for an entertaining encounter between Wawrinka and Murray on Friday as they make their last bids for semifinal place.
Wawrinka defeated David Ferrer 7-5, 6-2 in the night session, rallying from 2-5 down in the first set. Nadal qualified for the semifinals when Wawrinka claimed the first set.
In all honestly Nadal would look to be coasting towards a 3-0 lead at the head of Group Ilie Nastase and based on Ferrer’s abilities and his having pushed Murray to two tight sets in the opener, it would look to be a straight fight between the elder Spaniard and Murray for the No. 2 spot in the group, earning most likely a semifinal berth against Roger Federer.
He assessed his performance for the media after the match: “It’s an important victory because it puts me in a good position to try to be in the semi-finals, and at the same time I have a big day against a great player on a tough surface.”
Play continues with the final group stages for Group Stan Smith with the opening doubles matches starting at 12pm GMT