Mutua Madrid Open, Spain
Men’s Semifinal:  Andy Murray (GBR) vs.  Rafael Nadal (ESP)
Wavering confidence aside, Nadal was playing on an empty tank. He will be the first one not to make excuses and to give all credit to his opponent; however, we know that yesterday’s match against Joao Sousa drained him. Add to that the cumulative negative effect on his energy reserve of winning back to back clay court titles recently in Barcelona and Monte Carlo and he was vulnerable today. As great as Nadal is, he’s not as young anymore and the physically demanding style of his game has to continuously take a toll on his body, even with his high level of fitness. Murray was the more rested and it helped him to know that he can drive the ball consistently deep and with pace to Nadal’s forehand. It is the attack plan for every player these days when they play Nadal.
Nadal, champion that he is kept fighting and perhaps he could have turned things around if he was not so exhausted. Despite opportunities to get the advantage, Nadal repeatedly was unable to capitalize. Unfortunately for Nadal, it’s the second consecutive year that Murray has defeated him in straight sets in Madrid. Murray got his revenge for his semifinal loss in Monte Carlo. Despite his two quality titles in recent weeks, I am not sure where Nadal’s level of confidence is currently. Will this loss have a tremendous negative impact going into Rome and Roland Garros? I have to believe that it may have opened the door slightly to doubts; however, we will see once play gets underway next week just how much damage was done, if any. Murray won 7-5, 6-4 and will more than likely take on Novak Djokovic in the final.