Murray bids to stop Nadal in Rotterdam final

February 15th, 2009 - 3:43 pm ICT by IANS  

Rafael NadalRotterdam, (Netherlands), Feb 15 (DPA) Rafael Nadal and Andy Murray will both bid for a first trophy at the ABN-AMRO World Tennis Sunday, after overcoming hampered opponents in semi-final sweeps.

Nadal took advantage with Gael Monfils suffering a stomach complaint, winning the semi-final 6-4, 6-4 but still requiring more than 90 minutes to go through.

Murray dominated Mario Ancic in just over an hour, picking apart the Croatian’s game 6-1, 6-2.

Nadal lost his first service game against Monfils but was able to impose on the half-strength Frenchman, who struck ten aces.

“I knew Gael was not at his best,” said Australian Open champion. “It’s not so nice to win like this but I’m very happy to be in this final.

“It’s hard to concentrate, you never know if the opponent is going to retire or play on. In the final I’ll try my best. It’s great to be in a final on a fast surface.”

Nadal will be seeking his 33rd title a fortnight after winning his sixth Grand Slam in Melbourne.

Murray, seeded second, has come good at this edition at the Ahoy centre after losing in the first round on his debut a year ago.

The 21-year-old, ranked fourth in the world, is in line for a possible second title in as many months this season if he can overcome Nadal for only the second time in his career after beating him in last autumn’s US Open semis.

But Murray could face a fitness niggle after complaining of problems with his right ankle during the match.

“I know that I felt it about 20 minutes after my match yesterday (quarter-finals). I’ve iced it and it feels okay now.

“If it’s the same later, I guess I’ll be fine. But if not, then I’ll have to speak to the physio.”

The Scot admitted that his game was on fire against Ancic, winner of three of their previous four meetings, including two last season.

“I was playing great and Mario was not on his best game. I was hitting the ball well and made very few mistakes,” said the winner, now 12-1 this season. “It was tough for him but I’m very happy to come through.”

Murray has been quite at home on one of the fastest of the indoor hard courts, winning all but one of his four matches in straight sets.

He is looking for a tenth career title after lifting five in 2008.

Murray took total control of Ancic from the start, racing away with the opening set in 24 minutes. The Croatian, ranked 28th and losing finalist last week at home in Zagreb, managed to temporarily stop the rot as he won the fifth game of the second.

But the Murray juggernaut eventually came through for victory in an hour and a minute.

The second seed advanced on his first match point with a forehand winner deep into the corner.

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