French Open 2011: Rafael Nadal Celebrates His Birthday with a Trip to the Finals

Candice HareContributor IIIJune 3, 2011

PARIS, FRANCE - JUNE 03:  Rafael Nadal of Spain hits a backhand during the men's singles semi final match between Rafael Nadal of Spain and Andy Murray of Great Britain on day thirteen of the French Open at Roland Garros on June 3, 2011 in Paris, France.  (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)
Alex Livesey/Getty Images

In the first of two blockbuster men's semifinals at this year's French Open, Rafael Nadal secured his place in the final with a 6-4, 7-5, 6-4 victory over Andy Murray.

The top-ranked Nadal was in control from the beginning on this match, as he twice broke Murray at the beginning of the match to gain a 4-1 lead. Although Murray fought to get one break back, Nadal was able to secure the set on his next service game.

The second set was a much closer affair, which saw Nadal and Murray tied at 5-5 before Nadal was able to gain the break and subsequently win the set, 7-5.

Nadal wasn't troubled in the third set. In fact, it was during this set that Nadal appeared to be playing his best tennis against a worn-down Murray. After breaking the Brit in the first game of the set, Nadal was able to hold his service games in order to take the set, 6-4.

The five-time French Open champion, Nadal, will now be able to celebrate his 25th birthday while anticipating who he will face in the final, which will be decided in the second semifinal of the day between Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic.

Fourth-ranked Andy Murray, on the other hand, will likely be recovering after this loss, as it was clear that he again tweaked his right ankle, which he had previously injured in his third-round match against Michael Berrer.

Though his movement did not appear to be hampered in this match, he will surely need time for his ankle to heal before Wimbledon, which is just over two weeks away.