- Murray Does the Unthinkable
Well, what a nice surprise that was on a Sunday afternoon! I had already conceded the final to Nadal after Murray defeated Nishikori 6-3, 6-4 yesterday. So when Murray won the first set against Nadal today and went a break up in the second set, I sat up straight. Murray played very well to beat Nishikori but so did Nadal to beat Berdych 7-6(3), 6-1. And given that this was on clay and Nadal owns Murray 15-5 in the head-to-head, I didn’t really see how Murray could win.
But Nadal’s level dropped once again in the final and Murray took full advantage. Murray became visibly nervous in the second set, especially when he missed a drive volley with an open court in front of him on break point to get the second break at 2-0. I thought he had thrown it away there, but thank God he set up another break point and took it. And when he consolidated that break to take a 4-0 lead you had to believe that the big upset was on the cards. Murray still appeared nervous but to his credit held on to win 6-3, 6-2.
- Nadal Falls Out Of the Top 5 For the First Time in Ten Years
What?! This good old thrashing means Nadal falls out of the top five to number seven in the rankings for the first time in ten years. What an awesome situation! With this win, Murray basically shattered all the confidence Nadal built up during Madrid with his cakewalk draw, and there is no telling who will be next to cash in at Rome. Since I heard of the withdrawal of the Djoker from Madrid I thought it could be a risk because had Nadal won Madrid it would have given him a lot of confidence.
- Murray’s Revival
And when Nishikori lost I thought he had gotten lucky again. But big credit to Murray for the way he played last week in Munich and now in Madrid. And that after I said Murray is a non-factor on clay before he won Munich. I guess I un-jinxed him! All of a sudden, he is a serious factor on clay. He may even be a surprise winner of the French Open if he keeps this up. I’m not gonna say he won’t be because then I may just un-jinx him again and I don’t want him to win the French Open.
Married life and beards seem to agree with Murray
But credit to him for how he got his act together this year after he was still recovering from surgery in 2014. He’s been very solid this year in the big events and is second in the race behind the Djoker. As far as the live ATP rankings go Berdych breaks into the top four for the first time in his career I think, just ten points ahead of Nishikori. That is also deserved with the way he has been playing. Not only does Nadal fall to number seven in the rankings but he has 2600 points to defend in the next three weeks!
- Rome and Paris
As you’d expect the draw in Rome is favorable again for him, but his confidence just took another hit and who knows who he could lose to. Of course, the Djoker is back too and he will be tested because he has Nishikori in his quarter and Murray in his half. But it is good to know he is back just in case Nadal makes the final again. If Nadal wins Rome he is again the outright favorite for the French Open probably, despite everything that has happened of late. So it is good to know the anti-Nadal is back.
Nadal was looking back to his best again against Berdych but like I said getting thrashed like this by Murray can’t be good for his confidence. I still think he probably needs to win a tournament before Paris for his confidence, but you’re never gonna count him out there either. If however he does not win the French Open this year he will be in serious trouble in the rankings. Already he could face Djokovic or Murray in the quarter-finals in Paris which could easily cause an upset.
In the end, the Djoker’s withdrawal from Madrid was a very good decision because he will be rested and ready for his title defense in Rome and for another onslaught on the career slam in Paris. But let’s see what happens in Rome first. All the top players are present and all of them want that trophy and to boost their French Open chances in the process. This should be another very interesting week indeed!
- Match Stats
The is in your court.