Rafael Nadal made another big step toward tennis glory at the beginning of 2009. Rafa conquered his first Australian Open title following epic victories over Fernando Verdasco and Roger Federer in ten sets and nine and a half hours!
Taking a week off, world no. 1 returned to action in Rotterdam and hoped for a better run than a year ago. Nadal reached the title clash, where Andy Murray bageled him and claimed the title. Rafa, the winner of only one indoor hard title in Madrid 2005, survived stern challenges against Simone Bolelli, Grigor Dimitrov and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.
He spent eight and a half hours on the court and lost energy and stamina. The Spaniard defeated Gael Monfils 6-4, 6-4 for his first ATP indoor final since Paris 2007 and set the title clash versus Andy Murray. The Briton scored a 6-3, 4-6, 6-0 victory in an hour and 51 minutes to lift the trophy.
Thus, Nadal experienced his ninth bagel on the ATP Tour in a career, the first in two years.
Andy Murray defeated Rafael Nadal in three sets in the 2009 Rotterdam final.
Rafa claimed the second set but had nothing more left in the tank in the decider.
He stood powerless against the rival who claimed the tenth ATP title. Murray got broken four times and secured seven breaks from 12 opportunities to emerge at the top. Andy had more winners and fewer unforced errors. He overpowered Rafa in the shortest rallies up to four strokes and followed the rival’s pace in the more extended ones to cross the finish line first.
Nadal wasted a break chance at 1-1 in the opener after a loose backhand and hit another at 2-3 to experience a break and fall behind. The Briton held at love with an ace down the T line while serving for the set at 5-3 and gathered momentum ahead of set number two.
Rafa received treatment on his right knee after the third game and grabbed a break in the next one when Andy netted a backhand. The Briton pulled the break back a few minutes later thanks to a deep return that Nadal failed to control.
However, Rafa grabbed another break with a well-constructed attack that pushed him 4-2 in front. Murray responded with a return game in game seven before Nadal secured his third straight break with a return winner. Rafa served for the set at 5-3 but lost serve again to keep the rival in contention.
Andy extended the set and served to level the score at 5-5 in game ten. Still, the Briton lost the ground in his games entirely and gave serve away for the fourth time in a row at 4-5 to hand the set to Rafa and introduce a decider.
As it turned out, that was all Nadal had in the tank. He lost serve at the start of the final set and fell 2-0 down after Murray’s unreturned serve in game two. Rafa sprayed a forehand error in the third game to push Andy 3-0 in front, with the Briton increasing the advantage with an ace in the next one.
Murray delivered his sixth straight break in the fifth game. He sealed the deal with two powerful serves at 30-30 in the next one for his tenth ATP title and the second win in a row over Nadal.
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