Spain’s Rafael Nadal hammered Andy Murray in straight sets to reach his ninth French Open finals on Friday.
Nadal sailed past the seventh seed 6-3, 6-2, 6-1 to retain hopes of extending his Roland Garros record titles.
The victory means Nadal becomes the first man in the Open era to make nine appearances in the final of one Grand Slam, surpassing the record jointly held by Ivan Lendl, Pete Sampras (both eight US Open finals) and Roger Federer (eight Wimbledon final)
Murray, despite his encouraging campaign in Paris, was no match for an in-form Nadal, who only lost just 6 games on his track to a resounding win.
“I played my best match of the clay court season today,” said Nadal. “I’m very happy to be in the final.”
The top seed sets up a replay of last year’s last-four tie against Serbia’s Novak Djokovic, who required four sets to beat Ernest Gulbis 6-3, 6-3, 3-6, 6-3- their third meeting in three successive French Open seasons.
Murray’s only previous Roland Garros semi-final came in the defeat to the Spaniard three years ago and the 28-year-old Marjocan made no joke of his ‘King of Clay’ status, extinguishing his opponents hopes in less than two hours.
The Briton can now head to London to defend his titles at the Queen’s Club and Wimbledon, but hopes of becoming the second player to beat Nadal at the French Open faded against barrage of wit-breaking serves and forehands on a hot afternoon in the French capital.
Nadal, at his best, wanted to win every single point and, only lost just six games in the game which lasted for one hour and 40 minutes.
After winning the opening point of the match, Murray went on to lose his first service game after two errors, while Nadal dominated the opening three games to establish control.
The first set took the record eight-time champion 34 minutes to close out; he then stepped on his pedals early on in the second, while hopes of another five-set victory tale began sizzling out for his 27-year-old opponent.
Nadal comfortably gained another set without having to face a break point, or even been taken to deuce on his serve.
With the game more of a foregone conclusion, a lengthy Mexican wave by the Philippe Chatrier crowd caught Nadal’s attention but couldn’t deter him from racing to five break points, after Murray held to open the final set.
He sealed victory with a smash that left Murray bewildered.
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