Saturday, April 28, 2012

Nadal fights off Tsonga challenge

Updated March 29, 2012 16:44:21

World number two Rafa Nadal has qualified for the semi-finals of the Miami Masters, but only after being pushed all the way by France's Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.

Nadal threw away chances for an easier win, before he finally emerged with a 6-2, 5-7, 6-4 victory in two hours, 49 minutes.

Nadal next faces fourth-seeded British player Andy Murray, who also had to fight hard for his 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 victory over Serb Janko Tipsarevic.

Having won the first set comfortably, Nadal was within two points of victory on his own serve at 5-4 in the second set.

However Tsonga began his comeback by breaking the Spaniard's serve, aided by an untimely double-fault from Nadal.

He won three games in a row, claiming the set with a magnificent forehand return winner.

The third set produced some highly entertaining tennis and the Frenchman combined explosive shots, deft slices and glorious backhand work around the net to stay in touch.

Tsonga came close to breaking in the sixth game but Nadal held his nerve. The pair managed to remain on serve until the ninth game, when Nadal made the decisive break.

Although the Frenchman staved off a number of match points, the second seed claimed the match when Tsonga dumped a forehand into the net.

Medical attention

Murray was also given a scare as the world number four trailed by a set and a break before receiving medical attention for what appeared to be a stomach problem.

The Scot then promptly turned the match around as he broke the next service game from ninth seed Tipsarevic and went on to clinch the second set.

He then broke in the third game of the final set and held firm with his serve to ensure a last-four showdown against Nadal.

Overall Murray's backhand was below standard, contributing to a worrying tally of 34 unforced errors.

Murray said after the game that his health problem was almost certainly related to over-hydrating before the game.

"I have this thing that tests how hydrated you are, which I used for the match, and (afterwards) I was very hydrated, even though I'd drunk nothing the last couple of sets,'' Murray said.

"So I don't know if I drunk too much beforehand and kind of over-hydrated and my stomach was filled with liquid.

"It was so hot and humid, and to come off the court hydrated after not really drinking would probably suggest that I had drunk way too much."


Tags: sport, tennis, united-states

First posted March 29, 2012 13:08:50

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