Rafael Nadal provided a shockingly dominant performance in his second match at the ATP World Tour Finals. For a second straight day, two members of the Big Four clashed, and just like yesterday, the lower seeded player wound up winning. It was a match filled with mastery, artistry, and even some hair cuttery. Nadal took the match 6-4, 6-1 and with Stan Wawrinka’s win later in the day, the Spaniard topped Group Ille Nastase.
Poor Serving The Theme Of The Opening Set But Nadal Pounces Late To Take Opener
The struggles for each player on their serve was evident in each of their opening service games. Murray broke on his second try in the opening game with a devastating putaway backhand. However, Nadal would go on to break right back as the world number two let a 30-15 lead slip.
Both men held in their following service games before Murray whipped out some scissors on the change of ends to cut his hair since it kept getting in his eyes. The Spaniard began to toughen up down 15-30 in the fifth game. He won an all-important 24-shot rally thanks to a disguised shot he hit down the line as Nadal would hold for 3-2. Murray escaped the following game, coming back from 15-40 down to hold for 3-all.
After coming ever so close to breaking in the sixth and eighth game, Nadal came up with the goods with a love break to end the set. The world number five looked aggressive and capitalized on the balls that the Scot left hanging. An angled volley closed out the set 6-4 for the Spaniard.
Both players served extremely poor in the opening set. Neither man had a first serve percentage above 50 percent with their tallies hitting 46 and 45 respectively.
Dominant Nadal Closes Out The Match
Murray knew he needed to change something to start the set after an extremely disappointing ending in the opener. His shot to break evaporated however as a backhand he went for broke on crashed into the net. It all went downhill for the Brit after that as he was broken at love for a second consecutive game, but in this game, it was Murray’s unforced errors that gifted the world number five the game. Nadal cruised into a quick consolidation as he was well in control of the set, just like against Wawrinka.
The Scot finally found himself on the board after a hold at 30, but he let up a love lead as the 14-time Grand Slam champion nearly found himself back at deuce. Murray’s next service game found him level once again at 30-all, but the slew of unforced errors did the two-time Grand Slam champion in as the Spaniard clinched a double break lead. A forehand winner sealed the proceedings for the Spaniard and his stellar fall continues to be the talking point of the season rather than his early season struggles.
Notes From The Match
At the end of the match, Murray appeared to tweak his hamstring. While his status is okay for now, one has to wonder how he'll feel on Friday's match and during the Davis Cup Final against Belgium. This win for Nadal was his first win over a respective Big Four member this year.