Credit to Andy Murray, the guy was playing solid tennis for much of the 2-hour, 30-minute showdown against Rafael Nadal. But the story here is again the knee problems of Nadal who retired in the match down 6-3, 7-6, 3-0, Monday night at the Australian Open quarterfinals.
The match actually lived up to hype early on as both Top 5 players slugged it out in the cool conditions of Rod Laver Arena. The duo traded breaks early but Murray pulled out the go ahead break in the first set.
The second was more of the same. Long points, lots of slugging and again, the two traded breaks – one coming immediately for Rafa following a 10-minute break for a fireworks display at 3-2. But Murray broke back, got to 6-6 and then dominated the breaker.
In the third set, Nadal kept plugging but early on he seemed to aggravate his right knee. Mid-service game Rafa received treatment and continued. But just minutes later after Murray broke then held for 3-0, Rafa had had enough.
Hopefully for Nadal this isn’t serious, but we all know this isn’t a positive sign even if it’s a minor problem. The big picture is that his knees are just not healing. And that’s not good for Nadal and not good for tennis. We are at the start of the season, not in mid-season when we usually hear concerns over Nadal’s knees.
For Murray, he had a great game plan and stuck to it. He pounded his serve, pounded groundstrokes and really attacked Nadal right from the start. I though Nadal was playing pretty well, also. But Murray was too good. The result is he’s now in his first Australian Open semifinal. I now fully expect him to get his revenge on Cilic for that straight-set US Open defeat from last September and in the final he’s going to be a beast to take out.
Overall, an interesting day and somewhat disappointing day of tennis with Cilic beating an injured Roddick in five sets. Roddick was fighting a nerve problem in his neck/arm/shoulder but it seems to be minor, according to him. And unfortunately for the wrong reasons, the late match between Murray and Nadal will likely have ramifications on the rest of the tennis season: When will we see Rafa again, and how healthy will he be?
Let’s hope tomorrow’s we get some brighter outcomes, especially for those of us who stay up late! Nap time!
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