Magical Murray Denies Nadal To Win Madrid Title
Murray is fast finding his rhythm on the clay.
You wait 10 years for a clay-court title and then two come along at once... Such has been the case in a whirlwind week for World No. 3 Andy Murray.
Six days after capturing his first ATP World Tour clay-court title in a rain-delayed Munich final, the Scot stunned Rafael Nadal 6-3, 6-2 on Sunday to triumph at the Mutua Madrid Open.
Since marrying long-time girlfriend Kim Sears on 11 April, Murray has enjoyed his best ever start to the clay-court season, going 9-0 with his back-to-back victories in Munich and Madrid. Indeed, following his victory, Murray signed off on the camera lense with 'marriage works'.
"I think I wasn't expecting this a couple of weeks ago, so when things are unexpected, it feels nicer," admitted Murray. "I didn't feel like I put too much pressure on myself the past couple of weeks, which is a good thing.
"Obviously to win a Masters 1000 on clay for me is a step in the right direction. It's something I had never done before. So that's good progress there. To win against Rafa on clay in a final in Spain is an extremely difficult thing to do, and I'm proud that I've managed to do that."
Sunday’s triumph over Nadal was Murray’s first victory over the Spaniard on clay (1-6 record) and earned him his 10th ATP World Tour Masters 1000 trophy. The Dunblane native received 1000 Emirates ATP Rankings points and $799,450 in prize money.
Defeat for two-time defending Madrid champion Nadal will see the Spaniard drop to World No. 7 in the Emirates ATP Rankings on Monday, putting him outside the Top 5 for the first time in a decade (No. 7 – May 2, 2005).
Murray had only beaten Nadal five times in their previous 20 meetings coming into the Caja Magica final, but dominated from the outset as Queen Sofia of Spain watched on. Early breaks in both sets put the Scot in charge and Nadal failed to replicate the forehand brilliance that saw him dismiss Tomas Berdych in the semi-finals as Murray surged to victory in 89 minutes.
"I've played a couple good matches [this week], especially yesterday's match," said Nadal. "It's one of the best matches I have played in a long time. So I cannot leave Madrid not happy. I have leave happy and just delete what happened today. I will just stay with the good things that happened this week, and there are a lot of them, more good than bad. I will try to recover in Rome the feelings. I think I've made a step forward and I'm playing better. My game is better."
It is Murray’s second triumph in Madrid, having prevailed in the tournament’s final year on indoor hard court in 2008 (d. Simon). The 27-year-old Murray has a 30-5 record on the season, also highlighted by runner-up showings at the Australian Open (l. to Djokovic) and in Miami (l. to Djokovic).
The 28-year-old Nadal was chasing his fifth Madrid crown and dropped to a 39-9 tournament record. The left-hander lifted the trophy on indoor hard court in 2005 and on clay in 2010, 2013 and 2014.