Andy Murray was too hot for Rafael Nadal to handle in the Madrid Masters final, dominating the home favourite, Rafael Nadal 6-3 6-2 to claim his second title on clay surface within seven days on Sunday.
The Briton, who won his first title on the surface in Munich last Monday, yet secured his first victory over the Spaniard in seven attempts.
“It’s one of the toughest things in tennis to try to beat Rafa on clay,” Murray said.
The 27-year-old raced into a 3-0 lead early in the opening set and then finished it off by saving three break points. He then broke Nadal five times to move 4-0 clear in the second set. Murray was never going to delay on match points n this day, when a weak Nadal forehand clipped the net.
It was Murray’s tenth Masters title and 33rd career success, having hunted Nadal’s chances of winning a third straight title in Mutua which would have taken his overall triumphs to a record five times.
Nadal has not been at his best so far this season following injuries and illness in 2014 and with the French Open set to begin at the end of the month, the defeat has further fueled cynicism over his chances of claiming a record extending tenth victory at the Roland Garros.
“Obviously, this wasn’t the match I wanted or expected to play today,” the 28-year-old, who has also blamed his defeat on the weakness of his backhand, said.
Defeat also means the 14-time Grand Slam winner has dropped to seventh in the latest ATP rankings released today, putting him outside the top 5 for the first time in ten years- which could also mean a tougher draw at the French Open.
However, the king would return to the Rome Open hoping to gather some match fitness before Roland Garros.
For No. 3-ranked Murray, who suffered a disappointing defeat in the semi-finals of the Second Grand Slam of the year at the hands of Nadal- for a second time in the French capital- in 2014, he has now elevated his status as a real contender in Paris starting o Sunday, 24 May.
“I’ll keep trying to play well over the next few weeks with Roland Garros just around the corner.”