Defending champion Rafael Nadal maintained his devastating form at French Open 2014 as he turned in an impeccable semi-final performance to brush aside seventh seed Andy Murray in their twentieth meeting on the tour to win in one hour and forty minutes at the Court Philippe Chatrier. In Sunday’s blockbuster final against Novak Djokovic the king of clay will be chasing his fifth consecutive Roland Garros title and the ninth in total.
The encounter started according to Rafa’s plans as he broke the reigning Wimbledon champ in the second game and gave him no chances to claw back. The initial set point was all the top seed needed to put the opener to bed. Rafa shifted into an even higher gear in the following set to race past the powerless rival by constructing a double break cushion and hold to love in the subsequent game to stretch further away.
The British player failed to cope with an uphill battle in the third set as red-hot Nadal again claimed an early break after putting away a smash and soon grabbed and confirmed another one to put the outcome of the semi-final beyond any possible doubt. Disheartened Murray soon faced a match point on his serve and could not do anything about it as the Spaniard pulled off another smash to book the spot in the final thanks to a 6-3, 6-2, 6-1 clay-court triumph. Super-efficient Nadal converted all six of his break points over the course of the three sets, whilst he was never really under pressure during his service games. He surrendered only four points behind his first serves which were accurate in 76% of the cases. The World no. 1 has now extended the head-to-head lead versus Murray to 15-5. The Scotsman, who has contested his second Roland Garros semi-final after 2011, is yet to reach the final stage of the tournament.