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Andy Murray’s match against Rafael Nadal (on Wednesday) could provide the spark the ATP World Tour Finals has so far been sadly lacking.
The week long tournament in London has so far failed to live up to expectations given the presence of the world’s greatest players, and organisers will hope the meeting between the Scot and Spaniard will ignite the competition.
Easy for Murray and Nadal
Both Murray and Nadal eased to victory in their opening matches – and the top online tennis tipsters will have noted how Murray dominated David Ferrer to win in straight sets 6-4, 6-4, while Nadal enjoyed an even easier 6-3, 6-2 win over the disappointing Stan Wawrinka.
“Everything went wrong,” said Wawrinka after Monday night’s capitulation. The drab, lacklustre performance of the reigning French Open champion seemed to sum up the tournament so far, and organisers and sponsors will de desperate for Nadal and Murray to put on a display worthy of a showpiece, season ending competition.
The stakes are high both men. Murray can nail the world number 2 ranking and finish the season for the first time in that position by beating Nadal, while the Spaniard will be looking to boost his own ranking ahead of the new season and Australian Open.
The pair last met on clay in the Madrid Masters final when Murray managed to achieve his breakthrough on the surface and register a win in a long-running rivalry with Nadal.
The WTF match will be their 22nd match against each other with Nadal leading the head-to head with 15 wins to Murray’s six.
While Murray continues to challenge at the top of the men’s game, Nadal continues to try a rebuild his form and game which has evaded him following years of success and dominance.
In their last competition before the ATP WTF in London, Murray reached the final of the BNP Paribas Masters – to be beaten by Novak Djokovic 6-2, 6-4 -while Nadal fell at the quarter final stage, also losing in straight sets to Wawrinka, 7-6, 7-6.
Defeat for Nadal on Wednesday would not the end of his participation in the round-robin tournament as the Spaniard could still progress to the quarter finals with a win against his compatriot Ferrer in the next match, and a victory for Murray over Wawrinka.
Deadly Novak and Federer lie in wait
Whichever two go through to Saturday’s semi finals, they look likely to be facing old adversaries Djokovic and Roger Federer who have so far dominated their group’s opening matches.
Djokovic opened the tournament with a crushing 6-1, 6-1 win over Japan’s Kei Nishikori to confirm his position as the year ending world number 1 for the fourth time in his career.
Federer was next up and he made light work to dispose of the Czech star Tomas Berdych.
They face each other (Tuesday) and then finish their group matches with Djokovic taking on Berdych and Federer facing Nishikori.
By: Joe Cahal