Nadal’s Stunning Collapse, Kvitova Title Highlight Madrid Finals
by Staff | May 10th, 2015, 6:41 pm

Even after the match, as the trophy ceremony rolled on, fans were asking themselves, “Did that just happen?”
Andy Murray rolled over an absolutely lost-looking Rafael Nadal 6-3, 6-2 on Sunday at the Spaniard’s home-country tournament at the Mutua Madrid Open, leaving Nadal’s French Open hopes in disarray.

Murray was spectacular in claiming his second career claycourt title and second in a row after Munich, but Nadal nonetheless was a confidence-challenged car crash. In the second set the Spaniard ground-balled an ordinary two-handed backhand groundstroke, and sent rally-level forehands 10 feet long, shaking his head and smiling ruefully at his lack of control.

“I [can] leave happy and just delete what happened today,” said Nadal, pointing toward earlier matches where he says he made progress, while still looking for a first clay court title during the run-up to the French Open. “I will just stay with the good things that happened this week, and there are a lot of them, more good than bad. I will try to recover in Rome [next week] the feelings.”

Murray on the other hand had nothing but feelings during the final, taking control of points early and feasting on Nadal’s short ground strokes, the majority of which bounced in the service box during rallies.

“I think I wasn’t expecting this a couple of weeks ago, so when things are unexpected, it feels nicer,” Murray said. “I didn’t feel like I put too much pressure on myself the past couple of weeks, which is a good thing. Obviously to win a Masters 1000 on clay for me is a step in the right direction. It’s something I had never done before. So that’s good progress there. To win against Rafa on clay in a final in Spain is an extremely difficult thing to do.”

The world No. 3 is undefeated since getting married and has captured his first two career clay court titles in high fashion, after the match signing a camera lens with “marriage works.”

Murray is now 1-6 vs. Nadal on clay and 6-15 [CORRECTED] on all surfaces, and the win knocks Nadal out of the Top 5 rankings to No. 7. The Scot is 2-2 in finals [CORRECTED] for 2015 after runner-up efforts at the Australian Open and Miami, both losses to world No. 1 Novak Djokovic.

Both Murray and Nadal will be among the elite competing in Rome next week, Nadal’s final chance to earn a title and some confidence in the run-up to Roland Garros.

In the women’s final Petra Kvitova followed up her stunning victory over world No. 1 Serena Williams in the semifinals, halting the American’s winning streak at 27, by steamrolling former world No. 2 and French Open champ Svetlana Kuznetsova 6-1, 6-2 for the Madrid crown.

Kuznetsova en route to the final posted Top 10 wins over Ekaterina Makarova and Maria Sharapova.

“I knew that I had to play aggressively because Svetlana’s a great player on clay, and the last time we played in Paris, I lost to her when we played the normal rallies,” Kvitova said. “So I knew that I had to make a lot of winners, and I knew I that had to go for the volley if I got the opportunity.”

She improved to 16-5 in career WTA finals.

“I think I’m probably the kind of person who likes to play these kinds of big matches, to play the finals, the big tournaments, the Grand Slams, playing on the big stadiums,” Kvitova said. “Finals are why we’re all playing tennis. We want to win the big tournaments and see these beautiful trophies.”

In the 2015-only point standings she vaults from 15 to No. 6, and suddenly the former Wimbledon champ is in the discussion for a first French Open title.

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49 Comments for Nadal’s Stunning Collapse, Kvitova Title Highlight Madrid Finals

brando Says:

Congratulations to Andy and his fans once again. From his side of the deal: absolutely spot on. Its a good career moment he can cherish. As for Rafa: well him laughing at himself in the match just summed it all up for him I felt. It seemed like he was thinking: “seriously, wtf is going on with me?”. He’s right though: one can only congratulate Andy- side note: I have always thought rafa (like Roger) takes losses badly but I was glad to see he was warm towards Andy even smiling for awhile, it being a friend winning helps- and just move on. Take the good and build on that. For me has to go back to basics: just fight for every point. Just fight. From there he’ll find his way.

Wog Boy Says:

“The Scot is 1-2 in finals for 2015 after runner-up efforts at the Australian Open and Miami, both losses to world No. 1 Novak Djokovic.”

I thought Andy won Munich, no?

skeezer Says:

Congrats Andy and his loyal fans, a great win against the King of Clay.

Didn’t you state you were not posting till USO?

Rome for Rafa now looms large. If he does not look good in Rome, last years RG title may be his last Slam won on Clay.

the DA Says:

“Murray is now 1-6 vs. Nadal on clay and 6-20 on all surfaces”

Woah, hold up! I think you mean 6-15. Let’s not jump the gun here. Also, you might as well add that Murray is 3-1 in finals ;)

Dc Says:

Age is catching up with Nadal . He’s can’t defend as he could and tries to finish points sooner; which goes against his DNA.
His trademark shot , the ‘high bouncing super spin to the BH of a right handed player ‘ is getting inconsistent . The shot takes extreme focus and energy to execute. Rafas been unable to maintain the focus to execute this shot repeatedly.
He seems to be going the federer way.

Sekkyo Says:

Federer didn’t implode this quickly and consistently on his preferred surface.

skeezer Says:

And they claimed just last match Rafa’s groove is back………….uh………..ok.

Daniel Says:

Everybody thought that Nadal’s body would broke down first, but seems his mental fortitude is on the line.

Maybe is just too much tennis and years plating at an amazing mindset that just wears him down. Together with aging and not being able to defend and last as before and the begging of his decline is evident.

Of course he still has RG as his last fortress. If he doesn’t win it than huge question marks for his future and what more dan he achieve.

We sometimes expect that this great champions can return to form again and again but everybody has a limit, maybe Nadal is close to his.

But as long as you are a top 10 player, you’ll always be in contention for major titles, what really matters when you are in Fed, Nadal and Djoko league.

Markus Says:

I think Dc missed a word in the last sentence in his 10:02 comment. That would be “opposite”.

chris ford1 Says:

At some point, due to the rising importance of Masters 1000s, Olympics, the WTF and a modest but steady rise in Davis Cup prestige – the 4 majors will be assigned an important, but not exclusive role in assessing a player’s career.
Then there is consistency. You don’t have to win a trophy to impress if you always go deep. Fed’s 23 straight and Novak’s 14 straight Slam semis are stunning. Just as Fed making 35, Connors 27, and Nole 22 (active streak) straight Slam QFs.

skeezer Says:

“the 4 majors will be assigned an important, but not exclusive role in assessing a player’s career.”
In your dreams.

Nirmal Kumar Says:

The worst match I have seen Rafa play yet. But not to take anything away from Murray. He played a terrific match from his side.

At the end of the 1st set, looked like Nadal was getting back his momentum. Assertive and aggressive tennis by Murray at the end of the 1st set halted Nadal’s momentum. But looking at Murrays FH, still it does not look like he could continuously attach from that side. It’s going to be a setback to him, unless he can start hitting it consistently.

Michael Says:

One of the toughest task in any Sport is to beat Rafa in a Clay final which Andy has managed to achieve and this stupendous feat automatically fetches him a place in the illustrious list. Ofcourse nowadays, Rafa is looking highly vulnerable on Clay and has lost to even lesser known players but still his record on Clay is unenviable and incredible to say the least. He is still the player to beat in that surface because he has super imposed himself by his stellar achievements.

What surprised me only was the ease with which Andy dismantled Rafa especially on Clay. Honestly, I never fancied Andy winning this one against Rafa especially considering the way he played against Berdych where seemingly he got into his groove and was nearing his best. I thought that match was a good augury for Rafa going into Rolland Garros. But against Andy in the final, Rafa looked very pedestrian and made quite a lot of Unforced Errors than normally he would. Intriguingly, he was struggling against Andy’s weak second serve and one was left wondering as to why he didn’t close in on it rather than retreat way back like he approaches the first serve. Surprisingly, Andy was getting the better of Rafa in rallies too and I think Andy managed to witness some of Novak’s matches against Rafa in the recent past to get a sense of how to tackle him. He was playing quite similar to Novak like pounding on Rafa’s relatively weak double handed back hands before pushing a wide one in his fore hand and the strategy worked. Ofcourse, it was also helped by a sloppy Rafa on court who looked totally lost, out of focus, lacking rhythm and in a dejected mode.

All said and done, this is a great achievement in Andy’s career and will bolster his credentials as a player further. Most importantly, he has now gained confidence to play in one of his weakest surfaces and that is a huge bonus for him.

Margot Says:

Some gr8 pics for Andy fans, from the Daily Fail.
Can Andy play better? Heck yes, as usual he is too modest.
For starters FSP was only 60% task and few approaches to the net. More tsk. And, although he was hitting his 4hand with confidence, of course it can improve.
His backhand was superb yesterday, strong, powerful, painting the far corners of the baseline. And my commentator thought it could get better. Wowzer! As for his ROS, well not sure that can be improved tbh…;)
Finally it’s wonderful to see him playing with such variety again. This seemed to disappear under the stern gaze of Mr Lendl.
@the DA
Apparently that guy works for a company called “Chimp Management.” ROFL
Finally, comms to Rafa fans.

Ron Smith Says:

How about that Murphy?!!

SL Says:

Solid match from Murray, richly deserved win. He could well be primed for another semi final run at RG and Wimbledon.

But Rafa is not half the player he used to be. Agree with @Dc and Daniel.

Those often mistimed unforced errors and inability to capitalize on opportunities (remember that inches long forehand on break point in the first set) are further indicators of his slide. He can still play the odd good set as he did against Berdych, but for a year now has lacked the consistency required to be a major force. He is almost 29, and that is oldish in tennis terms.

He has been near the top of tennis for almost 10 years, although his best years were surely 2007-2010 when he was just an incredible tennis player on any surface. Sadly, I suspect that Nadal’s days of winning majors are over. Federer for all his fitness, at 34 is not consistent enough to win a major again either, and I am not sure Murray has what it takes to win another major. That leaves Novak to rule tennis for the next 2-3 years until he starts to tail off, as the current next generation is simply too mediocre.

Djokovic is king !

the DA Says:

@Margot – Chimp Management? LOL You couldn’t make it up.

Wog Boy Says:

I am in Bunnings now, i’ll do it when I come back in about 20 min.

Wog Boy Says:

^^sorry, message wasn’t for TX, went to wrong address:(

Margot Says:

“i am not sure Murray has what it takes to win another major.”
Lol you wish.
This is Andy playing without pain at long, long last.
@the DA

Colin Says:

Belated congrats to the DA for his detective work.

I wonder whose idea it was to hire a psychologist. Somehow I don’t think it was Andy himself, as I take him to be the sort of person who doesn’t believe anyone else can know his mind better than he does.

Might be almost anyone, but it’s probably Jonas or Amelie. Possibly the guy himself got in touch and volunteered. Whoever it is has certainly earned their salary!

The ironic thing for Rafa and his fans is, the mental ability Andy has (rather suddenly) acquired, is the very one that made Rafa so formidable – the ability to block out a mistake immediately and focus on the next shot.

When Andy missed that easy smash, and when he double faulted, to see him unfazed was almost as exciting as watching him hit winners!

Calmdownplease Says:

`He could well be primed for another semi final run at RG and Wimbledon…`

the cigar does NOT go to this bozo……

Sidney Says:

Gutted by Rafa’s loss. :(

Congrats, Andy. Very well done!

Wog Boy Says:

It is going to be pretty warm and dry week in Rome, that suits Rafa, I can see him doing well in Rome and making final.
I was watching Simon and they switched to Dimitrov, I think Rome plays little bit faster and lower bounce than MC.

shyam kumar Says:

I think nadal have past …

Gordon Says:

A few are going on about the exclusive club of men who have defeated Nadal in a final on clay; Murray just joined this group yesterday.

The real exclusive club – with a current membership of 1 – is those who can best Rafa on the red soil of Roland Garros.

Who will be the second person after Robin Soderling to achieve this? And will it happen this year?

Tennis lover Says:

Time and time again I warned people in this thread of hedging their bet over Rafa’s la decima in Roland Garros. But, wistful folks ranted me. Last year I warned people who wanted Novak to topple Rafa terming it as an impossible feat but that was in 2014. This year Rafa will be ousted from RG before semifinal, djokovic may not have to face him in final. I am not saying Novak will win RG this year.

Nirmal Kumar Says:

When Andy missed that easy smash, and when he double faulted, to see him unfazed was almost as exciting as watching him hit winners!

Very well said. This was the big takeaway for Murray. It happened against Kei too. I remember a certain stage where Kei was making him run around for a couple of games, but Murray reasserted and changed the tactic. He was missing his trait last year and the earlier part of this year. Nice to see.

Dan the Man Says:

The title of this article should be about Murray winning, not Nadal losing. I’m not a Murray fan, but this win this week shows he is now back in the big 4 and deserves it. Until this week, he hadn’t beaten a top 5 player, but he beat Raonic (#6), Nishikori and Nadal in successive matches, all in straight sets. He is now a Nadal-beater on clay, which is a pretty exclusive club. There is also one aspect of this win that the media hasn’t picked up on yet: Murray, now with a female coach, beats Nadal, who says a woman shouldn’t be coaching men. If that doesn’t poke a hole in that logic, I don’t know what else could. Another side note, Jimmy Connors’ mother Gloria was his coach most of his career, and has the record of most singles titles won in the men’s game.

jane Says:

” but this win this week shows he is now back in the big 4″

andy’s been number 2 in the live race for almost the whole of this year beginning with his run to the finals at the australian. he was in the semis of indian wells and the finals of miami too. in other words, he’s now gone deep at or won (with this madrid title) all of the big events he has played this season.

jane Says:

interesting points about andy’s female coach, dan the man. :)

RZ Says:

@Dan the man – thank you for giving credit to Mauresmo. I’ve found certain writers for Tennis-X to be extremely dismissive of her as Andy’s coach. But considering how 2015 has started for Murray (only 5 losses and 3 of them to a certain Novak Djokovic) she deserves a ton of credit, especially for his renewed fitness and “clay game.”

Giles Says:

Let’s just see if this female coach helps Murphy to beat joker. How many times in succession has Murphy lost to him now?

RZ Says:

@Giles – it’ll come.

RZ Says:

The new ATP rankings are interesting. Something that hadn’t gotten much attention: Raonic is now up to #4! Numbers 4 to 7 are very close. Berdych is only 20 points behind Raonic, Nishikori is only 100 points behind Berdych, and Nadal is only 50 points behind Nishikori.

Gordon Says:

This is not a knock at Jimmy Connors for having his mother as a coach, but I need to point out the huge asterisk that belongs next to his record of most tournaments won.

When the ATP formed in 1972 almost all the top players joined it, the most notable exception being Connors. Instead, he dominated a series of tournaments arranged by his manager, Bill Riordan, where he played little more than club players. Who wouldn’t have had higher victory numbers?

This ended in 1974 when he was not allowed to play Roland Garros because of his affiliation with another tennis organization not recognized by the ATP. It’s too bad, because he was clearly the best player in the world that year, winning the other three slams. He subsequently joined the ATP.

I always wondered how Connors had so many tournament wins yet losing head to head records against contemporaries Borg, McEnroe and Lendl. Hence the asterisk next to that record.

Gordon Says:

RZ – you are correct. Nadal needs to win Rome to vault back into the top 4 in time for the French Open. He is defending the most points out of anyone close to him in the rankings (runner up at Rome in 2014) so this tournament is important to him.

That being written, he will have to be wary of Isner, no?

Giles Says:

@RZ. I do hope so. Murphy is back to full fitness now so should be a “piece of cake”, no?

brando Says:

Rankings, titles matter not right now. Everything is a step at a time. You walk before you can run. You start the engine before you drive the car. Life dictates it like that. Right now ranking, titlesare for those who are prepared for such a step: nole, muzza et al. For rafa-a returning player- it’s about winning some matches, finding some form, getting his game together etc. Once the bashing is done: fact is he improved from the absolute low in Barcelona. Sure he lost the Madrid final: but atleast he got there. Sure he lost to Andy: but even Andy said he was dominating for stretches in the match like he can he just did not sustain it. Rafa got off to a nervous start: lost his serve. So did novak v rafa at MC. Was down 0-3, with Andy serving first. But after that: 3 service games won, 2 to love, 1 to 15. 2 games of muzza he had break points, was extremely unfortunate to see a brilliant FH DTL miss by the merest of inches on 1 BP. He was actually the better player after 0-3 down in set 1. Thats a positive. Another one of is he seemed mentally low: yes. But he still seemed stronger than v Novak or fognini. There he was down and did not fight. in this match though-like rafa even said- he did throw some punches back this time. He had some chances to change the narrative. It wasn’t to be. One accepts and moves on with hope for better.

SG1 Says:

It still seems a little premature to be writing Rafa’s tennis obit. He’s progressively improved his results as he gets closer to RG which is what I think he was looking to do. There’s still Rome and there’s still the first week of RG to get things in high gear. Rafa isn’t the favorite to win RG, nor should he be. But, there are some intangibles in play that I think will bring out the best tennis he has (…rather than his best tennis). Will it be good enough? I don’t think the best tennis he has right now beats Novak but I’m thinking that it’ll beat anyone else. Of course being ranked 7 means he’ll probably have to play Federer in just to get to the semi-finals. A tough road for him. We’ll see.

RZ Says:

@Giles – not a “piece of cake” but doable for sure. Really, Murray needs to win that inevitable first set tiebreak and stay focused in the last set.

RZ Says:

@SG1 – assuming that Nadal is seeded 7 at the French Open, he could be drawn against any of the top 4 players as the grand slams do not have a strict 1 vs 8, 2 vs 7, etc., draw system. So he could land in any of quarters led by Djokovic, Federer, Murray, or Raonic/Berdych/Nishikori.

SL Says:


Hey, don’t get me wrong, I love Murray and I really hope he does win another major or more to do justice to his true abilities.

But I don’t think his game adds up to another major win. And he has been playing pain free for a while now, still does not measure up in terms of consistency to win 7 best of 5s in a row, especially considering his path has to be through Novak almost certainly.

I hope I am wrong !

SL Says:

@ Dan the Man. You may want to check your facts.

Firstly, it was Toni Nadal who said that it was “preferable that the captain is someone with a background in the world of men’s tennis”. Even he did NOT say the captain should not be a woman. I don’t agree with Toni, and many of us would not, but you should not attribute what he said to Rafa.

Rafael Nadal had an issue that the captain Gala León then chose to start a media debate with Toni (and some other commentators) on the subject. What Rafa in fact said was the Spanish federation president, Jose Escanuela, was within his rights to appoint León captain, “but it seems unfair to me that they have taken the issue to the form of a populist media debate”. He said that instead of talking about a non issue in the media it would be better if Leon focussed on getting the team members together.

You may or may not agree with that, but Rafa never did express any reservations about a woman coaching men, that is completely untrue. I understand that some of what he said in Spanish may have been lost in translation, but its not fair to label him as a sexist when he did not say anything remotely like that.

@ Calmdownplease. Do you have a point ? So, you DON’T think Murray can make the semis at RG and W or DO you think he will do better ? Wish you would write something in English for bozos like me to understand :-)

Margot Says:


No, I don’t think Andy “has been playing pain free for a while.”
His comments are towards the end of the article.

calmdownplease Says:

Andy’s fans say take your weasel words SL and get stuffed!

No one cares about your `love` for Andy…
We are all hoping you will lose it along with your wishful thinking come Wimbledon.

Markus Says:

CDP, please avoid using “we” when expressing your own opinion. Express yourself but don’t drag others along.

SL Says:

@ calmdownplease

Why is it so difficult to comprehend that the same tennis fan can both like and admire Murray, Nadal, Djokovic and Federer ? Not everyone has to be a groupie, do they ?

So, let me spell it out. I think Djokovic will win Wimbledon again. Murray and Federer will do well, definitely semis. Nadal will not make it to the quarters.

It’s an opinion, you may have your own.

@ Margot. Thanks for the article. You may well be right. I think any one who enjoys tennis would want to see Murray play at his best. I sure do. I hope he does better than I think he can.

Margot Says:

Lol SL
And I hope he does as well as I think he can!

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