Nadal sets up dream Rotterdam final with Murray

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='' class='caption'> Rafael Nadal took a breather with a 6-4, 6-4 defeat of Gael Monfils after a week of marathon matches to reach final with Andy Murray at the Rotterdam Open.

Updated: February 15, 2009 18:52 IST
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Rafael Nadal took a breather here with a 6-4, 6-4 defeat of Gael Monfils after a week of marathon matches to reach Sunday's final with Andy Murray at the Rotterdam Open.

Spain's Australian Open champion was finally able to advance in energy-saving style after going the distance in his first three victories.

It still took him more than 90 minutes on Saturday to defeat an opponent suffering with stomach problems.

The world number 1 will line up against Scottish second-seed Murray in a dream final for organisers.

Murray roared into the final on Saturday with a lightning 6-1, 6-2 defeat of Mario Ancic but is facing a fitness test due to a sore right ankle.

"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.

"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."

Monfils still managed ten aces and broke Nadal once in the Spaniard's first service game. Nadal now leads their series 4-1.

British world number 4 Murray was ruthless in a 61-minute victory after losing to Ancic in three of four previous encounters. But Murray said that he was occasionally troubled by his ankle and doesn't know how or when he picked up the problem.

"I know that I felt it about 20 minutes after my match yesterday (a win over Frenchman Marc Giquel)," he said. "I've iced it and it feels OK now.

"If it's the same later, I guess I'll be fine. But if not, then I'll have to speak to the physio."

Nadal sent his 2009 record to 13-1 as he reached the title match, where he holds a 5-1 ATP record over Murray. "I got lucky today," said Murray. "I was playing great and Mario was not on his best game.

"I was hitting the ball well and made very few mistakes. It was tough for him. I'm very happy to come through. I returned very well and considering my condition, I played a very good match."

Murray will be aiming for his second title of the season after starting 2009 with a trophy in Doha. The 21-year-old Scot has won his 12th match of 2009 against just one loss, in the Australian Open fourth round to Fernando Verdasco.

The second seed has been on a Rotterdam roll, claiming three of his four matches in straight sets. Murray will be bidding for his tenth career trophy after winning five of his first nine in a breakthrough 2008 season.

The Scot was never troubled by Ancic, the number 28 who lost the Zagreb final last week to compatriot Marin Clic.

Murray ran away with both sets as the shine went off the Croatian's game. Ancic has been on a recent comeback after dealing with illness and injury over the past two hard-luck seasons.

As the rout took shape, Ancic managed to save a bit of pride, winning his first game since early in the first set to climb to 1-4 in the second.

But the businesslike Murray put a stop to any upset hopes, advancing three games later on the first of three match points with a forehand winner to the corner.

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  • Tennis
  • Rafael Nadal

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