(November 15, 2015) LONDON, UK – On day two of the ATP World Tour Finals, the question was whether Andy Murray would make that transition from his clay court preparations to the indoor hard court against an opponent that can be a large thorn in anyone’s side.
Facing David Ferrer for the second time in as many tournaments, it was clear that the Spaniard was up for making this a grueling encounter, putting Murray under pressure immediately.
Chances came and went for Murray later in the set, as he squandered three opportunities to gain an advantage, instead opting for breaking Ferrer for the set.
It is never as clear cut as that with this pair, as Ferrer took off at a sprint at the start of the second set, breaking the Brit, and consolidating easily. Murray was not easily put away though, breaking the Spaniard before repeating his feat from the first set, breaking to win 6-4, 6-4.
This puts him within a win of securing the year end No. 2 spot for the first time in his career.
He said to media, after the match: “First couple of games my timing was a little bit off. But I got it back pretty quickly, which was pleasing. You know, if you’re looking for a little bit of rhythm, he’s also a guy who makes you hit a lot of balls. The rallies are often quite long, so you can get into a rhythm against him. So that was good.”
Murray who will play the Davis Cup final next week against Belgium, was asked about the Paris attacks and if he had any concerns about going to Belgium. “I think everybody right now is concerned about things,” said the Scotsman. “But I do think the best thing that we can do is to live our normal lives, not change too much, because then the terrorists are the ones that are winning.”
“We need to go out there and do what we always do and try not to change too much. That’s all we can do.”
“I don’t want to live my life in fear each time I step on a tennis court. So that’s what I’ll do.”
There were high hopes that the night session match would deliver the first three set singles match of the tournament. There was disappointed because despite an early break by Stan Wawrinka, it was all about Rafael Nadal.
Having been quite defensive pre-tournament about his year, even going so far to reiterate that his slide down the rankings has not been because of injury but down to ‘playing badly,’ or rather a lack of confidence, Nadal looked to exploit an ill-at-ease Wawrinka, whom many thought to be a real contender.
While the first set was at least competitive, a mammoth hold at the start of the second set marked the tone for the remainder of the match. Nothing Wawrinka could do was right, as he sprayed errors thick and fast from his racquet.
Sure Nadal regained some of his trademark swagger, but it was as much about an apparent self-destruct from Wawrinka that set the Spaniard alongside Murray with a win against his name, 6-3, 6-2.
Wawrinka could do little else but acknowledge that he had played poorly, saying: “Just disappointed in general. I don’t think was great level, was great match. You know, when something goes wrong today, everything went wrong. Just everything went the wrong way.”
Nadal may have settled any nerves he had with that performance. He said: “I had a good week of practice here. I think I played the way that I wanted to play. I played aggressive. I played with not many mistakes. Just the thing I can do a little bit better is serving. For the moment I didn’t serve as good as I was doing in the previous days. But for the rest, all the shots worked well: backhand, forehand, good volleys, good smash, no missing the smashes today. So that’s good.”
Nadal and Murray will play in the next round, with Wawrinka and Ferrer each looking to salvage their chances on Day 4.