It was the battle of the backhands — the bad backhands — as Andy Murray and Rafael Nadal advanced to the BNP Paribas Open final on Saturday at Indian Wells, beating Roger Federer and Andy Roddick respectively, hammering the Swiss and American’s backhands.
Murray relentlessly pounded Federer’s backhand in the first semifinals, in the last set steamrolling Federer in a 6-3, 4-6, 6-1 victory. In the second semifinal, Nadal did likewise, giving Roddick a backhand clinic in a 6-4, 7-6(4) victory.
The world No. 1 Nadal, the 2007 Indian Wells champ, improved to 5-2 against Roddick. Murray likewise continued his domination of Federer, extending his career record to 6-4 and four in a row over the Swiss.
Priot to the match with Federer, Murray said he felt he didn’t need to do anything special against the Swiss — besides play well.
“He’s a great counterpuncher and reads the game really well,” Federer said of Murray. “He has great feel. So he’s very confident at the moment. You can tell, the way he plays. He knows he doesn’t have to play close to the lines because he can cover the court really well. I think that calms him down mentally. I think that is why he’s playing so well.”
Murray said there are many ways to win matches.
“I try to explain that there’s more than one way to win points, more than going for big booming serves and big forehands,” he said. “If you change the pace and mix it up, I’m playing the match the way I want. If I started trading ground strokes against Federer, that’s what he would want.”
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