Nadal Beats Murray in Wimbledon Semifinals

Despite tactical switch, Murray loses another semi

Friday, Jul 1, 2011  |  Updated 3:54 PM CDT
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Nadal Beats Murray in Wimbledon Semifinals

AP

Spain's Rafael Nadal, left, shakes hands after defeating Britain's Andy Murray in the men's semifinal match at the All England Lawn Tennis Championships at Wimbledon.

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Andy Murray can't win — at least not in the Wimbledon semifinals, it seems.

Chastened by last year's straight-set loss to Rafael Nadal at the same stage, Murray switched tactics to a more aggressive approach and still came out with a 5-7, 6-2, 6-2, 6-4 loss Friday.

"Sometimes I've come off the court and thought maybe I should have taken a few more chances," Murray said. "Today it's kind of the other way. I went for it and started making mistakes."

It is the third year in a row he has lost in the semifinals. The 24-year-old Murray is still looking for a first Grand Slam title, and Britain is still seeking a first Wimbledon men's champion since 1936.

Such is the fervor for a home winner that during Friday's semifinals, there was hardly a blade grass visible on a packed "Henman Hill," the area inside the grounds in front of a giant screen — which is now sometimes referred to as "Murray Mound." The match was also shown on a screen on Court 2.

It was a familiar ending though. Since 1998, British fans have watched Murray and Tim Henman lose seven Wimbledon semifinals between them.

Waiting for Nadal to gather his belongings and leave the court, Murray sat motionless in his chair, staring into the distance.

"It's tough," Murray said. "But I'm giving it my best shot each time. I'm trying my hardest. That's all you can do."

It may not be any comfort to the Scot, but Nadal said Murray, who has also lost three Grand Slam finals, was the best player he had seen without a major title.

"Andy probably deserved to be Grand Slam winner," Nadal said. "Always he was there: final in Australia, semifinals Roland Garros, semifinals here another time. That's tough.

"Is not easy for him be there all the time and finally he lost another time. He needs little bit more luck ... and he will win. I still don't have any doubt on that."

Friday's match swung in Nadal's favor in the fourth game of the second set, shortly after Murray had won the first set with a single break in the final game.

Then, leading 2-1 and 30-15 on Nadal's serve, Murray galloped up to a short ball, drew back his racket and thumped it just past the baseline. Murray challenged the call, more out of hope than expectation.

Instead of facing two break points, Nadal had 30-30 and then won that game and the next six to take control of the match.

"It was a big point," Murray said. "I was playing very high-risk tennis for most of the match. I went for it today, and I started to make a few mistakes after that.

"But you can't talk about a match that goes almost three hours being decided based on one point. Against Rafa, you have to go for big shots. I slightly overhit that one."

Murray also didn't blame the hip injury he picked up in his quarterfinal win over Feliciano Lopez. He called the trainer early in the first set and pulled up several times during the match and winced.

"My hip was sore like right at the beginning of the match," Murray said. "After I saw the physio, took a painkiller, it was fine."

While Nadal prepares for his 13th Grand Slam final and targets an 11th major title, Murray said he will increase his efforts in training as he looks to the U.S. Open in August and another opportunity to end his drought.

"(I'll) work harder than I ever did before. Try and improve my game and get stronger. Be more professional. Try and learn from what happened today," he said.

"It's a very tough era, I think, in tennis. Tennis right at the top of the game is exceptional. So not only to get level with those guys, but to push past them, you need to work harder than them. That's what I need to try to do."

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