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Andy Murray stuns Rafael Nadal to reach Toronto final

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Murray delighted to be hitting top form

By Piers Newbery

Andy Murray produced some of his best tennis of the year to beat world number one Rafael Nadal and reach the final of the Rogers Cup in Toronto.

The Briton, defending his title in Canada, came through 6-3 6-4 to reach the final and guarantee that he will remain fourth in the world rankings.

Murray broke once in the first set and twice in the second as his aggressive tactics gave him the edge throughout.

Roger Federer reached the final with a 6-1 3-6 7-5 win over Novak Djokovic.

Murray had given notice that his form was good with an impressive display against David Nalbandian on Friday, ending the Argentine's 11-match winning streak in the quarter-finals.

But Nadal remained a daunting opponent, with the Spaniard having won eight of their previous 11 meetings including a straight-sets victory at Wimbledon last month.

I enjoy playing aggressive, especially against the best players

Andy Murray

Since arriving in North America, Murray has dispensed with the services of coach Miles Maclagan and spent much of his time with the media outlining his plans for a replacement.

However, he has also suggested that he is enjoying the new-found freedom and the more aggressive tactics that so many people have called for have been apparent in Toronto.

"This is a surface I'm most comfortable on," said Murray. "I enjoy playing aggressive, especially against the best players.

"I want to enjoy playing my game and expressing myself out on court. You never expect to beat the other top players. The margins are so thin.

"I go on court knowing that I have to play my best if I'm going to have a chance of beating them. I like playing Rafa on a hardcourt."

As early as the fourth game, Murray had Nadal on the back foot with some heavy groundstrokes only for the Spaniard's forehand to fend off a break point.

Andy Murray
Murray has ensured he will remain fourth in the rankings

Nadal had two chances of his own in game eight but Murray seemed to relish the pressure, playing a magnificent forehand and a vicious sliced backhand to get out of trouble.

Murray then made the breakthrough in the following game as he again got the better of a long baseline exchange before serving out the set with ease.

The Scot was not making as many first serves as he had against Nalbandian - fewer than 50% throughout the match - but he was backing up his second serve with assertive second shots and constantly threatening the Nadal serve.

When he broke to lead 2-1 in the second set after recovering from 40-15 down, Murray looked on course for a straightforward win, but Nadal rarely hands over a victory.

A blistering forehand down the line, made all the more impressive by Hawkeye's replay showing it had just caught the line, helped him level at 3-3 and prompted a trademark leap and fist pump from the Spaniard.

After taking three games in a row Nadal earned two break points at 4-3, but a pumped-up Murray got back to deuce with a brave forehand down the line and regained control of the match.

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Three brilliant points took him to 0-40 and Nadal succumbed with a backhand error on the third break point, before Murray nervelessly served out the match after one hour and 44 minutes.

Nadal remained positive despite the defeat, saying: "Overall I'm feeling good. I've won 34 of my last 36 matches and have played well all season.

"It's not a bad start for the hardcourt season. I had chances for the final and I'm not so far off my game. I just need to produce more chances to win."

He added of Murray: "His movements are great from the baseline, and he has unbelievable hands to return the ball. That's one of the best things in his game."

Murray has not had a great year since reaching January's Australian Open final but he is now in position to win his first title of 2010 and set himself up perfectly for the US Open at the end of the month.

Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic
Djokovic (right) made Federer fight hard for his win

Federer's battling victory over Djokovic means that he will reclaim the number two spot in the world rankings from the Serb.

Twice a winner in Canada, the Swiss star raced through the first set in just 25 minutes and then went 2-0 up in the second.

But he suddenly lost his way and Djokovic seized his chance, breaking Federer twice to send the match into a decider.

The third set swayed back and forth and appeared headed for another tiebreak until Federer broke Djokovic at 6-5 clinching victory on his first match point.

"I came out with all guns blazing, I played fantastic in the first set but in the second Novak was able to raise his game and make it super competitive," Federer said.

"He fought bravely. He put his foot in the door before I could close it, but I'm very happy to be back in the final."

Djokovic said: "It's a little bit frustrating that I haven't used the opportunity I had in the end. But, you know, he was the better player today."



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see also
Murray v Nadal as it happened
14 Aug 10 |  Tennis
Murray wins to set up Nadal clash
13 Aug 10 |  Tennis
Top trio into Toronto semi-finals
14 Aug 10 |  Tennis
Murray v Nalbandian as it happened
13 Aug 10 |  Tennis
Murray sees off stubborn Monfils
12 Aug 10 |  Tennis
Nadal & Federer reach last eight
13 Aug 10 |  Tennis
Murray eases through in Toronto
11 Aug 10 |  Tennis
Murray & Hutchins lose in Toronto
10 Aug 10 |  Tennis
Murray in no rush for new coach
08 Aug 10 |  Tennis
Nadal ends Murray's hopes in semi
02 Jul 10 |  Tennis
Murray battles to Montreal title
16 Aug 09 |  Tennis


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