Murray Rallies to Rout Nadal at Japan Open

by John on October 9, 2011

The fifth time was a charm. World No. 4 Andy Murray stunned defending champion Rafael Nadal 3-6, 6-2, 6-0 in the final of the Rakuten Japan Open in Tokyo this afternoon, extracting a bit of revenge for his four straight losses to the Spaniard this year. The red-hot Murray won for the 21st time in 22 matches, while capturing his fourth title in 2011 and third in his last four tournaments. Nadal had defeated the Scotsman in the final of the Australian Open in January and the semifinals at Roland Garros, Wimbledon and the U.S. Open. Murray improved to 5-13 against the No. 2-ranked Nadal. The 24-year-old Scot had an inauspicious start today, dropping his first service game to trail 0-2. Murray began to settle in, though, and pressed Nadal on his serve in the seventh game before the Spaniard held and closed out the first set. The tide turned in the fourth game of the second set when Murray broke for the first time. Down love-40 in the next game, Murray served three straight aces and saved a fourth break point with a forehand winner while holding for a 4-1 lead. The Scot broke again in the eighth game to take the set and then steamrolled in the decider. “I played some great tennis, especially in the third set,” Murray said. “I had a couple of chances in the first set and was maybe going for too much, going too close to the lines, but once I got that break the roles reversed a little bit. He started going for a little bit more and I was dictating the points playing high percentage tennis.” Murray hit six aces to three for Nadal and won 79 percent of his first service points to just 43 percent for Rafa. Overall, the Scot won an impressive 73 percent of points on his serve to 52 percent for Nadal. “He played unbelievable, he didn’t make any mistakes in the third set,” Nadal said. “He played very aggressive and made no mistakes. When you are playing someone at that level, the only way is to try and get more free points on serve and for me it was impossible today because his return was very impressive.” Later, Murray became the first double winner on the ATP Tour this season when he and his brother, Jamie, defeated No. 4 seeds Frantisek Cermak and Filip Polasek in the doubles final. Nadal and Murray move on to the Shanghai Masters this week, where the Dunblane native is the defending champion.

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