03
Jun
11

Rafael Nadal battles past Murray in straight sets to reach the French Open final.

Rafael Nadal

The Spaniard, celebrating his 25th birthday, refused to be blown off course by the gusting wind as he sealed a 6-4 7-5 6-4 victory on Court Philippe Chatrier, and he now awaits the winner of the second semi-final between Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer. Nadal might well have lost his grip on the world number one ranking by Sunday’s final, with Djokovic poised to replace him next week should he win his semi-final, but he will still have the huge incentive of potentially matching Bjorn Borg’s record six French Open titles. For Murray, a best-ever run at Roland Garros ended with a defeat that was widely predicted against a man who has now won 44 matches, and lost only one, in seven trips to the French Open. Britain’s 75-year wait for a Grand Slam singles champion to follow Fred Perry goes on, and Paris always seemed the least likely venue for Murray to make the breakthrough, but he had his chances to extend Nadal further than the three sets they played. Nadal once saved 16 of 17 break points against Federer in a Roland Garros final and his powers of recovery were similarly evident as he saw off 15 of 18 against Murray, while taking six of 13 earned.

 

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