Despite having a losing record against Rafael Nadal and struggling with an ankle injury he sustained earlier in the tournament, Andy Murray still believes he can defeat his top-ranked opponent Friday.
Murray has a 0-3 record against Nadal on clay, including their last match—at this year’s ATP Masters tournament in Monte Carlo—and a 4-10 record against him overall.
Yet his recent form has given him confidence in his game. Since he made it to the Australian Open finals, Murray has lost in the first round of three tournaments, including Indian Wells and Miami.
His game has come alive on the clay, though. He advanced to the semifinals in Monte Carlo and Rome, where he lost to Nadal and Novak Djokovic in three sets.
"In Rome, I think he played a fantastic match in the semi-finals against Djokovic," Nadal said to the Associated Press, "He was the closest player to beating him this year."
Murray said that despite the loss, he took confidence from his performance.
"I think in the buildup to the French I was playing very well, and now I'm going to have to get that level out on Friday and sustain it for a long period to beat Rafa," Murray said to the AP.
"I feel I can do it. It's just making sure that come Friday I play my best tennis. I have to play a very consistent match, and I have to be mentally strong. Tactically I'm going to have to be very good. So I can definitely win.”
He’ll have to be concerned about an ankle injury he sustained in his third-round match against 95th-ranked Michael Berrer.
While sliding forward to retrieve a drop shot, the Scot’s foot caught on the court surface, and he twisted his ankle.
In the following two matches, he got off to a slow start, losing the first two sets to Viktor Troicki and falling down two breaks of serve against Juan Ignacio Chela.
However, he said that his ankle did not bother him that much in his match against Chela, which may give him some confidence in his movement going into tomorrow’s semifinal.
"I've got two days to rest up, recover, and get ready for Rafa, which is always one of the most exciting matches for me on the tour," Murray said. "I'm glad I've got tomorrow off where I can rest and recover. It does make a big difference. 48 hours are enough to recover and calm myself down and take everything in and go from there."
James Waterson is a syndicated writer for Bleacher Report. Unless otherwise noted, all quotes were obtained first-hand or from official interview materials.