World Tour Finals: Murray, Nadal hush critics with dominant wins

Defeat Ferrer 6-4, 6-4 and Wawrinka 6-3, 6-2, respectively

Afp November 17, 2015
Murray, who has one eye, perhaps two, fixed on next week’s Davis Cup final against Belgium in Ghent, produced a clinical performance to beat the dogged Spaniard 6-4, 6-4. PHOTO: AFP

LONDON: Andy Murray and Rafael Nadal produced emphatic responses to the critics as they kicked off their ATP World Tour Finals campaigns in dominant fashion on Monday.

Murray silenced the doubters who claimed he was distracted by dreams of Davis Cup glory with a gritty 6-4, 6-4 win over David Ferrer, while Nadal, beset by problems during the worst year of his career, showed he isn’t finished yet with a 6-3, 6-2 thrashing of French Open champion Stan Wawrinka.

Former Wimbledon champion Murray has made it clear his main priority in the closing weeks of the season is Great Britain’s attempt to win the Davis Cup for the first time since 1936 in their first final since 1978.

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Britain face Belgium in the final on clay in Ghent next week and Murray had initially suggested he might pull out of the Tour Finals to fine-tune his preparations for the Davis Cup.

After learning of potential sanctions from the ATP if he withdrew, Murray settled for spending most of last week practising his clay-court game across London at Queen’s Club before arriving at the O2 on Friday.

It was hardly ideal preparation and inevitably Murray’s commitment against Ferrer was under close scrutiny from cynics who doubted whether the world number two really wanted to risk injury with the Davis Cup just around the corner.

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But Murray assuaged those worries with a typically whole-hearted 90-minute display to see off Ferrer in his opening group match in the prestigious season-ending event.

“If I didn’t play here, I would have gone three weeks or something without playing a match before the Davis Cup Final,” said Murray. “Obviously it’s a different surface here, but playing matches against the best players in the world is also fantastic preparation. I feel good just now. Hopefully I can perform well here and in Belgium.”

Meanwhile, aided by 35 unforced errors from Wawrinka, Nadal took the first step to that goal as he broke twice in the second set to seal the win.

“I’m very happy to be back, the last year has been tough,” said Nadal. “I’m very happy to start like this, that’s important for my confidence. I have the motivation to keep improving my tennis.” 

Published in The Express Tribune, November 18th, 2015.

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