Rafael Nadal vs Andy Murray | French Open 2011 | Rafael Nadal beats Andy Murray to reach French Open 2011 final

Five-time champion Rafael Nadal proved too strong for Andy Murray as he battled past the Briton in straight sets to reach the French Open final. The world number 4 was looking to emulate Robin Soderling, the only man to have beaten Nadal in 45 matches at Roland Garros, but the Spaniard was in superb form and withstood Andy Murray pressure in all 3 sets to triumph 6-4 7-5 6-4. The British number one was certainly not disgraced in his first French Open semi-final but the defending champion had banished doubts about his form in beating Soderling in the quarters and he stepped things up again today on Court Philippe Chatrier.
Andy Murray, who had never beaten Rafael Nadal on clay in three previous attempts but had won a set in Monte Carlo in April, began brightly, holding serve comfortably, but in the 3rd game he could not stop the Spaniard breaking through.

The Scot could consider himself very unfortunate not to respond straight away in a lengthy Nadal service game as the top seed benefited from a huge mis-hit on one of Murray’s 3 break points. It was vintage Rafael Nadal as he pounded his opponent with power and vicious spin and, despite not playing badly, the 4th seed soon found himself 5-1 down. Andy Murray stopped the rot to force the defending champion to serve out the set, and for once he was found wanting, three errors allowing the 24-year-old to retrieve one of the breaks.
Suddenly he was back in the set and he began to trouble Nadal off the ground. Murray even had two break points to level at 5-5 but the Spaniard held his nerve.

The wind was again causing problems for both players but it was the Scot who seemed particularly affected, mistiming shots at the most inopportune moment when he created two break points in Nadal’s first service game of the second set. At 2-2 Murray played his first really poor game of the match to hand the top seed a break, but he responded in kind when Nadal uncharacteristically served a double-fault on break point.
The Spaniard piled on the pressure again and, although Andy Murray saved two break points, the 1st after defensive play his opponent would have been proud of, on the 3rd Rafael Nadal played a series of stunning forehands to make it three breaks in a row. Amazingly that became 4 when a brilliant cross-court backhand return from Murray, a shot he was using with great effect, was too good even for Nadal.

The 4th seed briefly stopped the sequence but the barrage continued and Nadal created 3 more break points at 5-5. The first was saved with an ace, the 2nd a desperate, lunging volley, but on the 3rd the Spaniard powered away a forehand before serving out to love.

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