British number one, Andy Murray seems to be back into hisstride already in 2015, after a storming victory over Spanish ace Rafael Nadal inthe semi-finals of Abu Dhabi’s Mubadala World Tennis Championship. For once hehad few problems putting out his nemesis who has so often put paid to his ownchances in major tournaments, winning convincingly in straight sets 6-2, 6-0. Itwas Murray’s first victory over a player ranked in the top four in the worldsince winning the 2013 Wimbledon final, so was long overdue many would arguefor a player of his capabilities.

 

Nadal was playing his first competitive match since lastOctober and it showed in his performance, but will also be basically pleasedone feels to be back playing again at the highest level. Although the scorelinelooked one-sided, Murray acknowledged that it had been a closer match inreality with the Scot taking advantage of the crucial points to establish hislead when breaks of serve became available.

The match was a far simpler test for Murray than his firstround exertions though, where he had to dig deep over two-and-a-half hours towear down another Spaniard in Feliciano Lopez in three close sets, 7-6,5-7,6-4.Murray displayed his competitive edge in savings break points against his servein the decisive set in that match, before seeing the match out, so seems to beimproving as the event progresses.

He also had to dispel any nagging doubts that might have been playing on his mind, after going out in the first round on his last two visits to the tournament to Janko Tipsarevic in 2012 and then Jo-Wilfried Tsonga last year. 

He will need to be at his very best in the final toclinch the season opener one expects, as he will face either world number oneNovak Djokovic or Switzerland’s Stan Wawrinka in Saturday’s showdown.

An earlytitle would set Murray up nicely for the challenges to come as he prepares forthe first Grand Slam of the year in Australia, which begins later this month,and would also be a good start in his continued battle to move himself back upthe world rankings after a struggling 2014 in the main. He has played wellpreviously at the Mubadala event, having defeated Nadal in the final in 2009.

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