French Open 2011: Why Nadal Will Cruise over Murray and Advance to the Finals

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French Open 2011: Why Nadal Will Cruise over Murray and Advance to the Finals
Alex Livesey/Getty Images

Throw out all the stats. Throw out their previous encounters (Nadal leads 10-4 including their meeting on clay in Monte Carlo a few weeks ago). This match is going to come down to whether Andy Murray’s ankle will hold up against the relentless attack of Nadal. It’s one thing to face Juan Ignacio Chela, unfortunately for Murray, Nadal is a totally different animal.

Murray has played incredibly spirited tennis and has shown real grit so far this tournament. After falling behind two sets to love and then 2-5 in the fifth set against Victor Troicki, and with his ankle apparently badly hurting him, Murray found a way to survive purely on heart and determination (and a royal choke job by his opponent).  No matter how much Murray wants his first Grand Slam, he will need more than that against Nadal.

If Murray is to pull off the shocking upset, not only will he need full health and energy, he will also need more aggressive shot making. Like Nadal, he too is know for a counter-punching attack, a style which while generally successful, does not work against Nadal. From the start, Murray will need to copy Robin Soderling’s strategy of hitting big and going for broke. Even then, Soderling benefited from Nadal’s cranky tendinitis, preventing him from being at full strength and a rather lucky penchant for hitting every line, meaning Murray will most likely have to somehow top that.

Murray has had a decent year and a commendable tournament. The fact that the Scot is even still around is quite surprising. Of course he is desperate for his first Grand Slam, but bowing out to Nadal in the Semis is nothing to be ashamed about. When it's all said and done, Nadal cruises in straight sets. 

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