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Rogers Cup ATP
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- Order of Play
- Singles Draw
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Cincinnati Women's Open Open WTA
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- Singles Draw
- Doubles Draw
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By Sean Rudolph
© Natasha Peterson/Corleve

(August 14, 2010) Rafael Nadal is the undisputed World No. 1. But Andy Murray has his number on hard courts recently. Controlling the center of the court and closing emphatically on serve, Murray swept the top-ranked Spaniard, 6-3, 6-4, to advance to the Rogers Cup final for the second straight year.

It was Murray's fourth win in his last five hard-court meetings with Nadal. The reigning Roland Garros and Wimbledon champion leads their head-to-head series 8-4.

While Murray is prone to periods of passive play when he relies on his quick court coverage to counter punch, he came out playing the type of assertive tennis he delivered in his crushing quarterfinal win over David Nalbandian on Friday.



"I had to play through the court against Rafa," Murray said. "I saw part of his previous match and when he was up on the baseline he was dictating and I didn't want that to happen."

Two-time Rogers Cup champion Nadal entered the match having won 34 of his last 35 matches since bowing to Andy Roddick in the Sony Ericsson Open semifinals in Miami in April. Nadal's lone loss in that span came on the grass courts of Queen's Club when he fell to Feliciano Lopez.

Shrugging that defeat off, Nadal swept Murray in straight sets in last month's Wimbledon semifinal in a match that was more closely-contested than the 6-4, 7-6(6), 6-4, scoreline suggests.

Playing his first tournament since winning his eighth career Grand Slam championship at Wimbledon, Nadal, who is in Toronto without coach Uncle Toni Nadal, struggled to work the rust of his game in both his 7-6(12), 6-3 opening-round win over Stanislas Wawrinka and his 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 triumph over Philipp Kohlschreiber in Friday's quarterfinals.

In contrast, Murray, who was runner-up to Sam Querrey in Los Angeles and snapped Nalbandian's career-best 11-match winning streak with a 6-2, 6-2 thrashing on Friday, played clean combinations with conviction for much of the match.

The fourth-ranked Murray is bidding to become the first man to win back-to-back titles in Canada since Andre Agassi in 1994-95.

Continuing his quest for his first tournament title of the season, Murray will meet either third-seeded Roger Federer, in what would be a rematch of the Australian Open final, or second-seeded Novak Djokovic in Sunday afternoon's final.

"It's a great challenge anytime you play Rafa," Murray said. "It will be another test tomorrow. It's a great challenge and I'm looking forward to it."

The winner of tonight's Federer-Djokovic match will be the World No. 2 when the new ATP Tour rankings are released on Monday. Djokovic started the week with a 110-point lead over the third-ranked Federer in the rankings.

Aided by a no call on a serve that replay showed was a double fault, Murray worked out a hold for 4-3. Alternating between heavier topspin and flat forehands, Murray broke for 5-3 when Nadal nudged a backhand down the line into the net.

In his most impressive serving game of the match, Murray slammed three straight aces, followed by a double fault then reached back for another stinging serve he followed up with a forehand winner to seize the first set, 6-3.





 

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