November 28, 2010 by staff
Aim, (UKPA) – Andy Murray will on Saturday aim to answer his critics in the best possible way by beating world number one Rafael Nadal in the semi-finals of the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals at the O2 Arena.
The last time they met in London was in the semi-finals of Wimbledon this summer, a match the Spaniard won in straight sets. Proof, said his doubters, the British number one does not rise to the occasion when the stakes are highest.
However, Murray has won four of their last five meetings on hard courts, starting with a semi-final victory at the US Open in 2008 that arguably remains the finest performance of his career and Nadal said: “If you talk to people who know about tennis, everybody would say the conditions are a little bit easier for Andy than for me here.”
The world number one added: “I’m going to try my best. I know it’s going to be a really difficult match. The only chance for me to win is to play my best tennis and hope that Andy doesn’t play his highest level.”
Nadal secured top spot in Group A on Friday with a 7-6 (7/3) 6-1 victory over Tomas Berdych. That made it three successive victories on a court where last year he failed to win a set.
The main talking point after the match, though, was a moment towards the end of the first set where Berdych was awarded a point following a successful Hawk-Eye challenge.
Nadal appeared to raise his finger to challenge fractionally before the umpire called the ball out himself, but the Spaniard was furious with the decision and argued at length with both umpire Carlos Bernardes and tournament supervisor Tom Barnes.
Afterwards, the Czech accused the officials of being intimidated by the world number one, saying: “It shows that the referee is probably scared of him because he lets him talk with him for too long.”
The final qualifier was Novak Djokovic, who saw off a lacklustre Roddick 6-2 6-3, with the American admitting that physically it had been a match too far. The Serb’s semi-final against Federer Saturday evening is just as mouthwatering a prospect as Murray’s match, with Djokovic looking to repeat his stunning US Open triumph.
The 23-year-old said: “It’s going to come down to maybe a couple of points. It’s a big challenge for both of us. I think it’s great for the tournament to see us playing in the semi-final. And also Nadal and Murray. It’s going to be a great atmosphere.”
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