Murray stuns Nadal for 20th career title
Originally published on: 10/10/11 09:32
Andy Murray hit back from the loss of the first set to record a stunning victory over defending champion Rafael Nadal and win the Rakuten Japan Open Tennis Championships in Tokyo.
Breathtaking in the final two sets, the Scot triumphed 3-6 6-2 6-0 to secure his second straight title, having won the Thailand Open the week previous, before polishing off a triple-swoop of silverware over the past fortnight by teaming up with brother Jamie to win the doubles crown.
Without a win over Nadal in their last five matches, Murray overcame a misfiring start on his serve to fire six aces and break Nadal twice in the second set, before sweeping through a flawless third.
“I played some great tennis and the third set was some of the best I’ve played against him,” said the world No.4. “There were a lot of close games towards the end of the first set and beginning of the second and I managed to get the momentum and didn’t give him many chances after that.
“I was very consistent, didn’t make too many mistakes and kept a cool head in the important moments.”
Murray conceded just four points in the deciding set before claiming his fourth title of the season and his 21st win in his last 22 matches – a run of form that has fuelled his hopes of leapfrogging world No.3 Roger Federer, absent from Shanghai this week, in the rankings.
“I’ve given myself the target of ending the year at number three (in the world) so hopefully I can carry on that form,” added the Scot.
After losing his seventh of 10 finals this season, the outclassed Nadal was complimentary of the Scot’s performance.
“He played unbelievable. He deserves the title,” said the Mallorcan.
“I’ve lost a few sets 6-0. Of course, you prefer it doesn’t happen. But he played fantastic and in the third set he started to play at a really high level. Accept. That’s it.”
Murray returned to court an hour later with brother Jamie to defeat Czech pair Frantisek Cermak and Filip Polasek and win their second ATP doubles crown together, having won at the ATP 500 event in Valencia last year.
“It’s always nice to play with Andy; it’s nice to play with your brother and obviously he’s a fantastic player as well so it’s nice to be on court with him,” said the elder Murray after the pair walked away with a combined cheque for $87,150, to add to the world No.4’s $295,000 prize for winning the singles crown.