Thank you for joining me for this match here on VAVEL. I hope you enjoyed the play-by-play insight. This is Brooks Giardina, signing off. Bye for now!
Final thoughts: Rafael Nadal's clay court winning experience shown through as he fought back from a poor opening set performance. Andy Murray played a strong match as he relentlessly battled until the end in his loss to the Spaniard. Nadal's serve struggled early on but his dominance on-serve in the decisive set pushed him through to his 100th career final as he takes on Gael Monfils for his ninth title in Monte Carlo.
Game, set, and match Nadal! Two sets to one, 2-6, 6-4, 6-2 in an two hours and 43 minutes. He will play for his ninth title in Monte Carlo!
The Brit forces the Spaniard to serve for the match at 5-2!
Nadal puts himself within a game of his 100th career final!
The world number five's relentless tennis results in a break to love to put him ahead 4-1!
Nadal eases through a service game to take a 3-1 initiative.
Murray holds comfortably to grab his first game of the decisive set.
The Spaniard holds to love to take a two-love advantage.
Nadal breaks to start third set proceedings on his fourth break point.
Due to reasons beyond our control, we will have to do game-by-game updates instead of point-by-point updates. Sorry for the inconvenience.
Nadal closes out the second set six games to four.
Murray finally holds to force Nadal to serve for the second set.
AD-40: Murray hits, yet, another, forehand winner.
40-40: Murray double faults..
AD-40: Murray finishes a long point with a forehand winner!
40-40: HUGE forehand from Nadal!
AD-40: Murray arrives at game point, again.
40-40: Murray hits another error.
AD-40: Murray rips a forehand.
40-40: Nadal plays a genius-like point.
400: Murray penetrates the court with massive forehands!
30-30: Nadal hits a beautiful drop shot!
30-15: Nadal misses a return.
15-15: Murray misfires off the forehand side.
15-0: Murray dictates with his forehand.
Rafael Nadal fires an ace to extend his lead to five games to three!
AD-40: Nadal forces his opposition's error.
40-40: Murray shows his precise shot placement up at net.
AD-40: Murray slides an easy forehand wide!
40-40: Murray nets a backhand slice.
30-40: Huge forehands set up the Nadal overhead winner.
15-40: The Spaniard slides a forehand inside-out wide.
15-30: The Brit anticipates but nets the attempted backhand pass.
0-30: Nadal nets a mid-court forehand...
0-15: Murray forces the Nadal error.
Nadal anticipates a Murray overhead to grab a break advantage. 4-3 Nadal.
30-40: Murray changes direction beautifully to save a break point!
15-40: Murray springs a forehand long.
15-30: Nadal takes the upper hand in this game.
15-15: Murray hits an unlikely routine backhand error.
15-0: Nadal misfires long.
Murray nets a forehand to result in a Nadal hold for three games apiece in this enticing second set.
40-0: Rafael Nadal plays clay court tennis how he knows best!
30-0: The Brit misshits a return.
15-0: Nadal mixes up his forehand placement to force the Murray error.
Rafael Nadal dumps a forehand into the net to hand the game to Andy Murray. Murray leads a set and three games to two.
40-30: A backhand error springs off the Nadal racquet.
30-30: Nadal rips a forehand winner inside-out.
30-15: Murray continues to utilize his touch as he incorporates the drop shot tactic.
15-15: Murray nets a mid-c0urt forehand.
15-0: Beautiful finesse from the world number two.
Nadal hits first ace to maintain the set on-serve.
40-30: Unforced error from the Brit...
30-30: The unforced errors off the Nadal racquet continue to pile up.
30-15: The Spaniard double faults...
30-0: Murray nets an attempted passing shot on the run.
15-0: Murray shanks a forehand wide.
Rafael Nadal misfires a return for his British opposition, Andy Murray, to earn a set and 2-1 advantage.
40-15: Murray fires his fourth ace to arrive at double-game point.
30-15: Murray hooks a down the line pass into the court.
15-15: The Spaniard slides a forehand just wide.
0-15: Nadal places a high backhand volley into the open court.
Andy Murray able to break back for one-all.
40-AD: Nadal shanks a backhand into the Monte Carlo crowd.
40-40: The Brit fires his attempted pass right to Nadal at net.
40-AD: Nadal nets a backhand to go down break point, yet, again.
40-40: Murray misses a routine backhand.
30-40: An untimely double fault for the Spaniard...
30-30: Nadal busts a forehand inside-out to the corner for his sixth winner of the match.
15-30: Terrific defense from the world number five, Rafael Nadal!
0-30: Murray's depth sets up a forehand winner.
0-15: The Spaniard gets unlucky with the netcord.
The second set commences on Nadal's terms as he breaks for the first time.
15-40: The Brit fires his first double fault.
15-30: A deep return forces the Murray error.
15-15: Nadal clips the line with his backhand down the line winner.
15-0: Nadal nets a routine backhand volley.
The first set goes in the Brit's favor as he races to a 6-2 first set in 50 minutes.
40-AD: A Murray drop shot deems out of reach.
40-40: Nadal shoots a backhand long.
40-30: Murray dumps a put-away forehand into the net.
30-30: Beautiful touch from Nadal!
15-30: The Spaniard misfires a routine swinging volley.
15-15: Nadal rips a backhand astray.
15-0: Murray slides a forehand out.
Wow! Andy Murray races to a 5-2 lead after a beautiful backhand winner.
AD-40: Nadal slides a backhand wide.
40-40: Anticipation from Nadal sets up a down the line pass.
AD-40: Murray dictates the center of the court.
40-40: Murray's forehand clips the line.
40-AD: Untimely change of direction results in error.
40-40: Well-placed ace!
30-40: Nadal applies pressure and a Murray lob misses by a small margin.
30-30: The Brit's misfires a backhand long.
30-15: An attempted drop shot goes wrong.
30-0: The Murray backhand arrives him at 30-0.
15-0: Murray hits a sharp backhand winner.
Nadal misfires a forehand to give Murray the first break of the match.
15-40: A Murray return slides wide.
0-40: The Spaniard nets an aggresive forehand.
0-30: Murray rips a huge forehand inside-out.
0-15: Nadal nets a backhand slice.
Murray fires his second ace to keep the semifinal match on serve at 3-2.
40-15: The Brit utilizes his finesse.
30-15: Nadal barely misses a forehand wide.
Apologies for the delay. We start the commentary of the match at two games apiece with Andy Murray to serve.
Andy Murray shall mix up his shot selection to throw off Nadal. The Murray backhand down the line could break down the Spaniard’s weakness; his backhand. Murray has spent over six hours on court thus far, so keeping points short against a charismatic Nadal could ultimately decide the match. Last but not least, if Andy Murray can dictate on serve his chances of winning would be increased as he is bound to gain opportunities on return. The match should be expected to be a lengthy grind with the player with the better shot execution deemed to come out on top.
If Rafael Nadal sees himself in the finals on Sunday, he must utilize his spin and lefty serve against his second seeded opposition, Andy Murray. The Spaniard’s serve will be crucial as the Brit will take advantage of any weak serve with his penetrating, forward-moving returns. Nadal should expect a variety of spins from the Brit as his movement on the dirt and anticipation will be crucial.
Andy Murray stepped on court as the big-serving Canadian, Milos Raonic, stood in his path. The match started and ended in the world number two’s liking as he did not drop serve once en route to a 6-2, 6-0 win in just over an hour on Court Rainier II.
Murray proceeded to take on, yet another, Frenchman in Benoit Paire. Despite Paire leading a set and 4-2, Andy Murray fought back and forced a third and final set. The encounter’s decisive set stayed tight until the Frenchman grabbed the break at 4-4 to serve for the match. But the pressure brought out the worst in Paire and the Brit took advantage to win 2-6, 7-5, 7-5.
Andy Murray’s route consists of two three-set encounters, followed by a one-sided quarterfinal affair. The Brit started his campaign for his first title in Monte Carlo against Pierre-Hugues Herbert, who is an accomplished doubles player as well. Murray was pushed to three-sets by the Frenchman, but the finesse of the Brit deemed too much for Herbert as Murray sealed his second round victory in over two competitive hours.
Rafael Nadal had an interesting battle before him as he took the court against last year’s French Open champion, Stan Wawrinka. The Spaniard and the Swiss matched up for their 18th career occasion and it looked as if a fifteenth win for Nadal would occur as the first set eased into the Spaniard’s favor in less than 30 minutes. The second set stayed competitive, but a crucial break for Nadal allowed him to serve for the match. He wrapped up the routine quarterfinal in an hour and 17 minutes.
The fifth seeded player went on to clash with, yet, another, European talent in Dominic Thiem. Nadal pulled out a thrilling opening set in 7-5 fashion. Despite an hour and 20 minute first set, the pair stayed relentless with their tennis as they battled on the center stage. But, it was the five seed to ultimately prevail 7-5, 6-3 in just over two hours. He set up an eventual meeting against Stan Wawrinka for a place in the semifinals.
Rafael Nadal has yet to drop a set en route to the semifinals, although he has faced an abundance of talent. The Spaniard was given the luxury of a first round bye, which left him awaiting the winner of Aljaz Bedene and a familiar foe in Lukas Rosol. To Nadal’s liking, he took on Bedene in the second round where he comfortably vaulted himself into the third round after a 6-3, 6-3 win over the Brit.
Andy Murray and Rafael Nadal will face off for their 23rd career meeting. The Spaniard leads the head-to-head 16 wins to 6, with their last meeting being in Murray’s home country at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals. Nadal leads the Brit 6-1 in their results on clay, but Murray’s only victor over the clay court specialist on the dirt came last year in Madrid in 6-3, 6-2 fashion. In fact, last year was the resurgence of Andy Murray’s clay court play as he went on to win his first two clay court titles and stole the show at the Davis Cup final, which was contested on the European dirt. The battle between the fifth and second seed is expected to be a strenuous battle of long rallies as they each possess heavy spin, consistency, and the fighting will.
Hello and welcome to live coverage of the seminal clash between Andy Murray and Rafael Nadal at the 2016 Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters. My name is Brooks Giardina and I am pleased to be bringing you point-by-point updates and taking you through this enticing clash her on VAVEL- -one of the fastest-growing newspapers in the world. From now until the match, which is scheduled to be played at 4 AM PST or 7 AM EST, news, updates, and match notes will be posted to keep you up to speed.