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Page last updated at 19:12 GMT, Wednesday, 2 July 2008 20:12 UK

Brutal Nadal sweeps aside Murray

By Caroline Cheese
BBC Sport at Wimbledon

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Nadal is through to the semi-finals for the third year running

World number two Rafael Nadal crushed Andy Murray's Wimbledon hopes with a sensational display on Centre Court.

The second seed triumphed 6-3 6-2 6-4 in just one hour and 55 minutes to reach the semi-finals.

A stirring comeback against Richard Gasquet had raised British hopes that Murray might be able to cause an upset.

But the 21-year-old appeared weary, while Nadal was superb. The Spaniard did not face a single break point and lost just 10 points on serve.

And a packed Centre Court crowd, who had come in the hope of seeing Murray repeat the heroics of Monday's win over Gasquet, were left to applaud the brilliance of Nadal.

"I played my best match here for sure," said Nadal, who will have to wait to discover his next opponent as Arnaud Clement and Rainer Schuettler were forced to stop playing because of fading light when locked at one set all.

He's going to be in the top five very soon if he keeps playing like this

Nadal on Murray

"I tried to play aggressively all the time, and tried to attack his second serve, but a win like this is always surprising - against someone like Andy who came back so well against Gasquet.

"Probably he felt tired. It's always tough in Grand Slams, so that's normal. I'm sorry for him, but he's going to be in the top five very soon if he keeps playing like this and he has a good chance of winning Wimbledon."

The warning signs were there for Murray in the opening game, with Nadal serving.

Interview: Rafael Nadal

Trailing 40-0, the Scot stepped up and belted a fabulous backhand return right at Nadal's feet - but the Spaniard merely rocked back and effortlessly half-volleyed a forehand onto the opposing baseline, putting his opponent on the back foot.

It set the tone for the match. Whatever Murray threw at Nadal, the world number two just came back with better.

Having squandered a break point at 3-2, Nadal earned two more when Murray shanked a forehand beyond the baseline and clinched it when the 21-year-old sent a routine smash long - to horrified gasps from the crowd.

Nadal did not let up in the second set, and perhaps even stepped up a gear.

At 1-1, Murray, bowing to relentless pressure from the other end, threw in two errors off the ground followed by a double fault to concede the break.

The crowd were, by now, almost silent, seeking a flash of inspiration from their man where none was forthcoming.

606: DEBATE

Murray was listless, partly the result of his five-set win on Monday and partly drained by the pressure from Nadal, and he was broken again as Nadal wrapped up the second set in 33 minutes.

The crowd briefly came to life in the third set as Murray bravely fought off two break points at 2-2, roaring his approval.

But this was not to be the start of a miracle comeback. Nadal raced through a love service game and immediately set about doing what he had failed to manage in the previous game.

Interview: Andy Murray

He twice pegged Murray back to deuce at 3-3 before the Briton made another couple of errors to hand Nadal the advantage.

Murray received a huge roar of approval when he raced up to the net and passed Nadal to make the Spaniard serve out his victory.

But serve it out he did, as Murray sent a tired forehand long on match point.

Clement and Schuettler will resume their quarter-final on Thursday after play was halted following one hour and 55 minutes of action.

Clement started the match slowly and Schuettler took hold of the first set with the decisive break in the fourth game.

The second set was a tense affair, the initiative repeatedly changing hands, and Clement sealed the break in the final game with a winner down the line.

And with the score poised at 6-3 5-7 and light fading, an official appeared on court and after speaking with players and the umpire, play was suspended.




see also
Murray v Nadal as it happened
02 Jul 08 |  Tennis
Wimbledon photos
02 Jul 08 |  Tennis
Murray into mixed doubles semis
02 Jul 08 |  Tennis
Gasquet v Murray as it happened
30 Jun 08 |  Tennis


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