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Page last updated at 14:19 GMT, Saturday, 14 February 2009

Murray & Nadal through to final

By Saj Chowdhury

Andy Murray
Murray was in devastating form at the AHOY arena in Rotterdam

Andy Murray cruised into the final of the World Tennis Tournament with a 6-1 6-2 win over Mario Ancic in Rotterdam, overcoming an ankle injury on the way.

The Scot, 21, broke the big-serving Croat in the second and sixth games, going on to win the set in 25 minutes.

A demoralised Ancic lost his first service game of the second set with an unforced error and never recovered as Murray reached his 15th ATP final.

Rafael Nadal beat Gael Monfils 6-4 6-4 in Saturday's second semi-final.

The world number one was not at his best but still had too much for the Frenchman, who was suffering with stomach problems.

"I knew Gael was not at his best," said Nadal, bidding for a second straight hardcourt title after winning the Australian Open.

"It's not so nice to win like this but I'm very happy to be in this final.

Murray shrugs off injury worry

"It's hard to concentrate, you never know if the opponent is going to retire or play on. In the final I'll try my best, it's great to be in a final on a fast surface."

Murray was also pleased after a straightforward semi-final win over Ancic.

"I played very well today, obviously returned better than in my previous matches and hopefully I can keep the same form again tomorrow," he told BBC Scotland.

The Scot revealed he has pulled out of next week's Marseille Open, despite being the defending champion, because of the injury to his right ankle.

He picked up the problem after the quarter-final against Marc Gicquel and it caused him some discomfort during his semi-final.

"I don't actually know what I did to my ankle," said Murray. "I finished the match (against Gicquel), went to see my fitness trainer to get stretched and warm down after the match.

If I play like I did today I'll have a good chance

Murray on facing Nadal
"Half an hour after I stopped it was starting to hurt quite badly, walking down stairs was not so comfortable and this morning, same thing again.

"I went to see the physio here; got some treatment on it, some anti-inflammatories, got my ankle taped for the match and it was hurting a bit towards the end, and a little bit at the start until I warmed up, so I'm hoping it's going to be OK for the final."

A less-than-100% Murray was still far too strong for his friend Ancic, who himself has suffered from injuries and illness which have seen him drop from world number nine in 2007 to 135 in January 2008.

The 6ft 5in Croat has battled back to 28th in the rankings and came into the match with a 3-1 record against his opponent.

But Murray has come on magnificently since his most recent defeat by Ancic in Barcelona last year, and he came out of the blocks brilliantly in Saturday's encounter.

After winning his opening service game, Murray broke in the second with a heavy topspin return which Ancic failed to pick up.

606: DEBATE
An unforced error on his forehand cost Ancic again on his serve in the sixth game and Murray served out for the set.

The 24-year-old's day continued on its downward spiral when he was broken again in his first service game of the second set.

Murray's only blips came in the second and sixth games. On the first occasion, an Ancic return to the net and an ace got the Scot out of trouble.

The Croat had two more break points in the sixth but wasted them with more poor returns. Ancic won the next, but Murray stayed calm to claim the match in the 15th game.

Murray has won just one of his six competitive matches against Nadal but it was their most recent encounter in the US Open semi-finals, and the Scot has since beaten Nadal in an exhibition event.

"It will be nice, I've never played him in the final of a tour event before," said Murray.

"It's obviously an exciting match for me, very good experience, and if I play like I did today I'll have a good chance."



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see also
Murray v Ancic as it happened
14 Feb 09 |  Tennis
Murray v Gicquel as it happened
13 Feb 09 |  Tennis
Murray overcomes battling Seppi
12 Feb 09 |  Tennis
Murray v Seppi as it happened
12 Feb 09 |  Tennis


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