2010 Barclays ATP World Tour Finals: Semi-final Preview – Andy Murray versus Rafael Nadal

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2010 Barclays ATP World Tour Finals: Semi-final Preview – Andy Murray versus Rafael Nadal
Top seed Spaniard Rafael Nadal meets fifth seed local Andy Murray for the first semi-final match of the World Tour Finals (WTF) on Saturday afternoon.
Murray qualified for the semis on Thursday during his match against Spaniard David Ferrer. Having defeated Robin Soderling on Sunday and then losing to Roger Federer on Tuesday, Murray enjoyed a 1-1 mark in the event. With Soderling’s
elimination earlier in the day on Thursday, Murray just had to win more than six games against the Spaniard to advance into the semis. This is the Brit’s second run into the semis. He had earlier made into the semis on his debut appearance in the WTF event
in 2008 after doing away with Federer, American Andy Roddick and French Gilles Simon in the round-robin (RR) stage. Having lost his tiebreaker to Juan Martin del Potro in the RR stage last year, Murray failed to make it into the semis despite a 2-1 mark in
the event.
Murray moves into the semis with a 2-1 mark at the second position following the group winner Federer. The Swiss moves into the event with a perfect 3-0 mark.
Another professional to move into the semis with a perfect 3-0 record is Murray’s semi-final opponent, Nadal. Nadal moves into the semis after defeating Roddick, Serb Novak Djokovic and Czech Tomas Berdych in his RR matches. Although
Rafa has made it into the semis before in 2006-07, this is the first time he moves on with a 3-0 perfect record. A run into the semis in this event is the Spaniard’s career best having lost to Federer on both occasions. His career worst for this event came
in 2009 when he failed to win a single match in his RR stage losing to Djokovic, Soderling and eventual champion Nikolay Davydenko. Although this is the Spaniard’s sixth straight qualification, he has only played on four occasions having pulled out of the
event in 2005 and 2008 due to an injury.
This will be the pair’s thirteenth meeting on the courts. Though Rafa commands an 8-4 advantage in their career head-to-head score, their head-to-head score on hard courts is levelled at 4-4. In their last two meetings on hard
court this year, Murray emerged victorious over the Spaniard.
First, it was at the quarterfinal in the Australian Open, though it had more to do with Rafa retiring due to an injury than Murray’s superior tennis skill. However, the eventual champion Murray did defeat Rafa fair and square in
the semi-final of the Toronto Masters in August. Having also met in the semi-final of Wimbledon in July, this will be the pair’s fourth meeting in the season with the Brit leading the head-to-head for the season.
Although Murray enjoys a certain statistical edge, it cannot be denied that Rafa is more in-form this season. Winning seven titles this season including the three Grand Slams at Wimbledon, Roland Garros and United States Open,
Rafa clearly overshadows Murray.
Furthermore, though Murray enjoys home court advantage, Rafa is after all world number one and his fans can be expected to come out in large numbers to support their favourite. While talking to the press about his match against
Murray, Nadal joked, "I would prefer to play against someone a little bit easier.”  On a serious note, Rafa added, “Tomorrow [is] going to be a very difficult match against one of the best players of the world. I'm very happy how I am playing,
how I improved during the tournament."



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