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Murray v Nadal as it happened

World Tennis Championship, Abu Dhabi:

Final result:

A Murray (GB) bt R Nadal (Spa)

6-4 5-7 6-3

LATEST ACTION (all times GMT)
606: DEBATE
To get involved use 606 or text us your views & comments on 81111. (Not all contributions can be used)

By Piers Newbery

1628: "Apologies for my rushed text (see 1605), exhausted queens run actually refers to the brilliant run to victory Nadal enjoyed at Queens, despite being exhausted."
From anon via text on 81111

1612: Well, that was quite a start to the tennis year for Murray, beating Federer and Nadal in successive days. A fantastic effort from the Scot and from the British public in tipping him for everything from Number 10 to the Tardis to the Man City and Rangers starting XIs. Thanks a lot, only 16 days until the Aussie Open....

1610: Andy Murray: "It was tough match. He made me do a lot of running. It was a great match for both of us."

Rafael Nadal: "I played a very good match. Andy played a little bit better, so congratulations to him."

On his knee injury: "It was a very good test. My body is perfect right now."

1610: "Amazing match and amazing play from them both but especially our boy Murray. Hooray!"
From georgia2221 on 606

1609: "Murray for wimbledon and the the us open! Get in!"
From Stef via text


THIRD SET:

Murray 6-3 Nadal
Murray does it! Yet another brilliant lob sends Nadal sprawling and he breaks for the second time in a row to grab a win that might not count for ranking points, but will mean a lot to Murray. Brilliant match.

1605: "I'm new to tennis. Can someone explain what an 'exhausted queens run' is (see 1545)?"
From Mark, Chislehurst, via text on 81111

Murray 5-3 Nadal
In my experience, Nadal appears to attract fans from many nations and not only because of the quality of his tennis. Murray is not distracted by the biceps down the other end and he comes through another tough service game with a fizzing forehand pass that nearly knocks the Spaniard over.

1559: "I've still not come down from that Wimbledon final. Still pinching myself that I was there, that Rafa won too. Absolutely fantastic. Now, come on Rafa!!"
From Sarah via text on 81111

1558: "Further to anon, I'm a Brit and wholly supporting Nadal!"
From Nicky via text

1557: "Re 1545: Yes I imagine you are!"
From Jimbo via text

Murray 4-3 Nadal
Oh, I say! If there is a better game than this one all year, we'll be lucky. Murray gets to 15-30 with a screamer of a return and a beautifully angled backhand into the open court. The British number one plays an even better rally, lunging for a high forehand volley, to earn a break point but Nadal saves it with an incredible get. I alone shout "not up!" and am proved exactly wrong by the replay. Another unplayable Murray return and a breathtaking defensive lob are among the highlights at deuce and the Scot finally make the breakthrough when Nadal goes wide with a backhand. Cue much screaming from the crowd and a good old "C'mon!" from Murray.

1552: "Anon watching from florida (see 1542) and supporting the hammers? Couldn't be Barack Obama could it?"
From Ralf, Manchester, via text on 8111

1545: "Am i the only brit supporting nadal? What about the wonderful summer he gave us? The exhausted queens run? The muscles? Wimbledon?...you people have no loyalty!"
From anon via text on 81111

Murray 3-3 Nadal
That's better from Murray - quick hold to 15, including a spectacular rally that sees Nadal forced into the old 'hot dog' shot between his legs. Murray sticks away the volley.

1543: "Its 85F in florida right now and im watching on line. Happy new year chilly uk and come on you hammers."
From anon via text on 81111

1542: "I heard that between sets andy murray has just cut the vat rate to 10 percent and is replacing boyd up front for rangers when man city buy him for £23m."
From anon via text

Murray 2-3 Nadal
Le singe est dans l'arbre, as the French would say, Zoe. Murray gets to 30-30 but Nadal serves his way out of trouble and continues to look strong. Or fuerte.

1536: "After reading 15.10's text. I'd like to put my prediction on for the year. Murray winning every grand slam and becoming world number one. Or maybe that's just a bit too ambitious? Oui or non?"
From ZoŽ, attempting to do some revision for my a-levels, via text on 81111

Murray 2-2 Nadal
It's definitely Murray who looks the more likely to crack at the moment but he does the right thing in mixing up his game a little, making two fantastic volleys from the net. Nadal plays a delicate backhand half-volley to save a game point but dumps a makeable forehand in the net at deuce, with the court gaping. He shakes his head in disgust. Murray edges through a tricky game and then urges the crowd to give him some energy, which they happily do.

1530: "I've put a tenner on Murray to be back in abu dhabi in november... beating Lewis Hamilton to the formula 1 world championship."
From Tom, Northampton, via text on 81111

1527: "You're so full of rubbish dom (see 1510). I hear andy hasn't even broken sweat yet!"
From Al, via text on 81111, sitting next to dom in the library

Murray 1-2 Nadal
Drop shots hold the key early in this one, Nadal failing to get one back for 15-30 but gaining revenge with a beauty two points later for 40-30. The world number one is taken to deuce but sees the game out, to the delight of the sizeable Spanish contingent in the crowd. Braving the cold.

1519: "I've heard on the grapevine that Murray is linked to a £16m move to manchester city. Probably more realistic than most names mentioned! Thats if Bromley agree to let him go."
From Mike and the lads, Bromley, via text on 81111

Murray 1-1 Nadal
Murray gets back on track with a good game, firing a big serve way up above Nadal's shoulders for 40-15 and then winning a lengthy rally twice, in effect, after a defensive Nadal lob lands plum on the baseline. Murray swipes it back into play, moves to the net and finishes the job.

Murray 0-1 Nadal
Nadal comes back from 0-30 to hold and he looks all business right now. Murray remains calm enough but he needs to get a second wind somehow.

1511: "After reading 1409's text i've stuck £100 on FIFA moving the World Cup a year. Well, it's actually on an accumalator with Andy solving the world's financial crisis when the bank opens on Monday."
Love Niki in Inverness, via text on 81111

1510: "After giving up that easily i predict murray out of the top 100 before wimbledon!"
From Dom, trying to revise for finals, via text


SECOND SET:

1510: "Time for the Rafa comeback then!! :) Vamos nadal."
From anon via text on 81111

Murray 5-7 Nadal
The sheer weight of Nadal's groundstrokes starts to tell as Murray finds the net three times to give up two set points at 15-40. Murray goes long with a mid-court forehand and we're into a decider. Hold the knighthood, ma'am.

Murray 5-6 Nadal
This is a tough, high-quality encounter now and the second point of this game sees the two men go mano a mano, thumping huge groundstrokes at each other. It's Murray who cracks first and Nadal goes on to hold.

Murray 5-5 Nadal
Any thoughts that Murray might be wobbling are banished with two aces and a service winner in a love game.

Murray 4-5 Nadal
Blimey, Murray's new found cool temperament is tested to the extreme at 30-30 when he appears to have won the rally and earned a break point. Nadal goes to Hawkeye and the computer says 'yes' by a millimetre, tops. The Spaniard holds.

1451: "Yeah, that's all fairly impressive, but I bet Andy Murray can't eat a Rowntree's Fruit Pastille without chewing it first."
From Eugene, Crawley, via text on 81111(Other brands of fruit-based pastille sweets are available, presumably)

Murray 4-4 Nadal
The first serves have completely dried up for Murray at the moment and that means lots of rallying with Nadal - which is not ideal. One screamer of a forehand down the line should boost the Briton's confidence and at 40-30 he smacks a welcome seventh ace of the day.

1448: "I've put £100 on Murray to be a surprise choice at number 3 in the England Ashes squad and to score the winner for Bromley today."
From Andy and the lads in Bromley via text on 81111

Murray 3-4 Nadal
While we ponder a glorious future for the British number one, Nadal appears to have other ideas. He holds to love with his best service game of the match and looks up for a deciding set.

1445: For those of you who have asked, it's a best-of-three set final. And can I add that we have had an avalanche of ridiculous and magnificent texts regarding the weather, and the possibilities for Andy Murray in 2009 - which include the next Prime Minister, Pope, Doctor Who, Top Gear's Stig, George Dawes (!), winner of the National, Boat Race, discovering cures for various diseases, settling all manner of international conflicts, first man on Mars......

Murray 3-3 Nadal
Murray plays a deft backhand drop shot on his way to 40-15 but Nadal is battling, and he recovers to deuce when he forces a backhand error from the Brit. From nowhere he gets a break-back point by wrong-footing Murray, and Nadal converts with a trademark hooked forehand that Murray cannot control.

1440: "RE 1411: Falkirk sounds lovely right about now. I'm in northern Alberta, Canada and its -38 now. Before windchill..."
From Lumlus on 606

1439: "Lovely winter's day in Aberdeen. Shopping - wife keeps popping out of changing room to ask the score to bemusement of shopgirls."
From KU, Aberdeen, via text on 81111

1438: "Its a pity Andy is a day late for Celeb BB.how could he lose?"
From Stu in Manchester (where it really is cold!) via text

Murray 3-2 Nadal
Big game. A nervous Nadal makes two unforced errors from 30-15 to hand Murray a break point, but the Scot's forehand breaks down first in the crucial rally and the chance is gone. Nadal double faults, hits an ace, sticks a backhand wide.... and we're back to deuce in a strange game.

Nadal then plays a poor drop shot and Murray ends up taking the point with an easy smash, but the second break point goes begging with a backhand into the net. Murray finally gets the break when Nadal sends successive shots over the baseline and the Scot has a great chance now.

1432: "He could fire tennis balls at the daleks."
From Emel via text on 81111

1430: "Murray to be the first man to single handedly circumnavigate the world on his tennis racket!
From Tom, trying to write my essay

1428: "I put £100 on murray forming an independent political party and becoming prime minister this year."
From Lolscott, Norwich, via text

1427: "I've just put 100 on murray to lose. He can't keep this up although i do fancy him for the national."
From Scott via text

Murray 2-2 Nadal
A reminder that this is an exhibition comes at 15-15 when play is halted for a few moments to allow several dignitaries to take their places in the Royal/VIP Box directly behind Nadal. Murray takes the chance for a quick breather but does not look too impressed. Just think of the money, Andy. We then get some nice stuff from both men at 30-30 when Murray gets the benefit of a Hawkeye decision that Nadal cannot believe. He laughs and Murray grins sheepishly before wrapping up the game.

1421: "Glad to see it's warm somewhere in the world. After a row on the Thames this morning our blades and boat were coated in ice. We predict Murray to win five olympic golds."
From the boys of Thames Rowing Club via text on 81111

Murray 1-2 Nadal
Fantastic forehand skills help Nadal to a solid hold and he's going at 100% to try and get back into this match.

1418: "Is there any radio station that this is on or will my f5 button be pulverised as usual?"
From Graham via text on 81111 (I'm not aware of any radio coverage I'm afraid, but what better way to spend a Saturday afternoon...)

1417: "I've put £100 on Murray being the new Dr.Who!!!"
From Scilly Brendan via text

Murray 1-1 Nadal
Murray opens up with his fifth ace of the day followed by a service winner but Nadal gets back to 30-30 when he fires two huge forehand winners. Murray apparently takes that as a challenge and climbs all over a forehand to power it into the corner, and takes the game with an ace.

Murray 0-1 Nadal
It's a quieter start to the second set and Nadal holds serve comfortably.

1411: "Glad its nice and warm everywhere. Its -1 in Falkirk. Go Muzza !"
From Donal & Rawinia via text on 81111

1410: "If Murray wins I can see him being the next Newcastle manager....."
From anon (Liverpool) via text


FIRST SET:

1409: "I've just put 100quid on him captaining scotland to the world cup."
From anon via text

Murray 6-4 Nadal
Just to keep things lively Murray decides to serve-volley on the first three points, the third behind a second serve. Murray misses his first set point at 40-15 with a wild forehand but takes the second after a lengthy rally when Nadal misses the baseline. A great set and a real atmosphere to the match, which feels more significant than an exhibition. Both players want to win this.

Murray 5-4 Nadal
It's been a battle between the Murray forehand and the Nadal backhand for most of the match as each player looks to his opponent's supposed weakness. When the ball does swing to the feared Nadal forehand at 30-30 the Spaniard is so shocked he smacks it long, and Murray has an immediate chance to get the break back. The British number one takes it with a brilliant short angled backhand that Nadal cannot control.

Murray 4-4 Nadal
After going close to the double break on a couple of occasions, Murray is in a bit of danger himself when he leaks a forehand wide of the tramlines for 15-30. An ace helps the Scot get back to deuce but it's Nadal who is making the running now, and a sortie to the net earns him his first break point of the match. A second double fault of the game gives up the break and Murray will be unhappy about that as he should be ahead.

1354: "If murray beats nadal today, i'm backing him to ride the winner at the grand national!"
From anon via text on 81111

Murray 4-3 Nadal
It's a testament to how well Murray is playing that it's taking my mind off the many messages from beaches around the world about how hot everyone is. A beautiful backhand lob is the shot of the day but Nadal does well to battle through from 30-30.

1350: "35 here in Barbados. Top that."
FromTim-Cahills-Glove on 606

1348: "Alas Laura (see 1334) can only be a borrowed Scot for a day if she's feeling the cold - we're 5 Scots along the road in Dubai at Wild Wadi Water Park and we've turned white from pale blue its so warm........go on Andy !"
From Lisa Scott, Edinburgh, via text on 8111

Murray 4-2 Nadal
Both men are playing well at the moment but Murray puts himself in a spot of bother with a double fault for deuce. Nadal has a look at a backhand pass but puts it wide on the stretch, and Murray takes the game with a spectacular backhand volley/smash.

Murray's girlfriend Kim is shivering under a blanket in the stands, so it might actually be a bit parky.

1343: "Murray will win the boat race as well if he continues like this."
From Phil in Dumbarton via text on 81111

Murray 3-2 Nadal
Another sniff of a break for Murray at 15-30 but he fails to put away a waist-high, mid-court, backhand and a fine drop shot helps keep Nadal in touch. And can I send my commiserations to Laura (see 1334), who is apparently chilly while watching the action in Abu Dhabi. I went across the road two hours ago for lunch and I still can't feel my feet.

Murray 3-1 Nadal
Murray is going to have a hard time keeping expectation levels down ahead of the Aussie Open if he carries on like this. That was a very solid service game. I would like to begin the 2009 overhyping now by tipping him for Wimbledon, Sports Personality and a knighthood.

1334: My friend Laura is in the crowd and has her face painted as the Scottish flag despite being English. Allowed? She also texted to say it's "freezing". Erm ...
From Jamie, Stoke Newington, via text on 81111

Murray 2-1 Nadal
Murray earns the first break point of the day but sends a loose forehand over the baseline. The pair then play a fabulous rally that Nadal looks to have taken with a drop shot, but Murray gets it back and the Spaniard floats a poor volley wide of the open court. Nadal saves a second break point with a big serve, but Murray gets the break with a magnificent cross-court backhand winner on the run. Brilliant stuff.

(And I think I speak for everyone, Invisiblecities [below], when I say that you have annoyed us all a great deal)

1327: "Wonder if Rafa will be sporting the sleeved shirt today. Just to be annoying i'm actually following this match from my sunbed in Mauritius, it's a cool 25 degrees here with a lovely breeze swirling in off the indian ocean : )"
From Invisiblecities on 606

1326: "It would be great for murray to beat them both in consecutive games. it would be the first time i think and would put murray up there."
From Jase, Kingsbury, via text on 81111

Murray 1-1 Nadal
Nadal has started much the better and opens the second game with a thumping cross-court backhand winner, which seems to wake Murray up. He starts to step in and shorten the points, coming through to 15 with an angled ace to Nadal's backhand side.

Murray 0-1 Nadal
Nadal gets off the mark with a love service game as Murray unusually fails to make a return of any note. The Spaniard takes the game with an ace down the middle that Murray challenges, unsuccessfully.

1315: Rafa is sporting his new gear again today, mainly white with a chunk of yellow and a dash of blue. Murray is resplendent in an all-white outfit. And I'm wearing a beefeater's costume. Not really.

1310: After yesterday's scorcher in Abu Dhabi it's a lowly 20 degrees and a bit blustery today. Sympathy is in short supply in London though. The crowd are certainly up for it, with some hearty screaming heralding the start of the knock-up.

1306: "Murray is gonna win this in two sets. Murray is actually now physically as good as Nadal. Add to that his better tennis ability."
From andrewmg86 on 606

1303: "Rafa will beat Murray easily.That can not be even a match."
From chandraiah on 606

1257: Nadal gave everyone a scare at the end of last season when he was sidelined with a knee injury and there are plenty of people who believe the Spaniard's body will not stand up long-term to the punishment it takes. However, this week he insisted: "The knee is perfect." So there you go.

1255: So, to the stats - the pair have met six times, with Nadal winning the first five before Murray memorably stopped the rot in four sets at the US Open in September.

Nadal, 22, has a career win/loss record of 335/77 and has won a grand total of US$20,757,647. Murray, 21, is on 115 wins and 65 losses, and has won a paltry US$5,499,434 in his three-year career. Hope he's got a tracker mortgage.

1250: Good afternoon and welcome to the final of the World Tennis Championship. That's right, Andy Murray and Rafael Nadal are about to slug it out for the world title.

Well, maybe not, but the overblown title of this exhibition event does have a certain ring of truth about it today as we are going to see the world number one take on the most in-form player in the world. Not bad for January 3rd.



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see also
Murray v Federer as it happened
02 Jan 09 |  Tennis
Tennis stars head for the sun
03 Jan 09 |  Tennis
Murray signs with Beckham agent
30 Dec 08 |  Tennis
Murray's magical year
16 Nov 08 |  Tennis


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