Djokovic crushes Nadal to reach fi­nal in Lon­don

Mur­ray eyes Davis Cup re­lief for Lon­don pain

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS -

LON­DON: No­vak Djokovic turned on the style to out­class old ad­ver­sary Rafael Nadal and reach the fi­nal of the ATP World Tour Fi­nals with a 6-3 6-3 vic­tory at the 02 Arena yes­ter­day. Spa­niard Nadal had looked like his old dom­i­nant self with round-robin wins against Andy Mur­ray, Stanis­las Wawrinka and David Fer­rer, but the world num­ber five was no match for Djokovic who was at his clin­i­cal best.

World num­ber one Djokovic, bid­ding for a fourth con­sec­u­tive ti­tle at the sea­so­nen­der, and a fifth in to­tal, launched an early on­slaught, break­ing Nadal’s serve in the LON­DON: Andy Mur­ray hopes the chance to make Davis Cup history with Great Bri­tain will ease the pain of his frus­trat­ing ATP Tour Fi­nals exit. Mur­ray crashed out of the sea­son-end­ing event on Fri­day af­ter a 7-6 (7/4), 6-4 de­feat against Stan Wawrinka de­nied him a place in the semi-fi­nals. The world num­ber two has never won the Tour Fi­nals, but he will have to wait an­other year to lift the tro­phy at Lon­don’s O2 Arena.

In­stead, Mur­ray’s thoughts will im­me­di­ately turn to in­ter­na­tional duty as Bri­tain pre­pare for their first Davis Cup fi­nal in 37 years next week. It is a wel­come sit­u­a­tion for Mur­ray, who couldn’t hide his dis­ap­point­ment at fail­ing to make the Tour Fi­nals last-four for the first time since 2012 as he smashed a rac­quet as the match against the French Open cham­pion slipped away. “This is ob­vi­ously a big event, one that I would have liked to have done bet­ter over the years. It just hasn’t quite hap­pened for me,” Mur­ray said.

“When you’re play­ing and com­pet­ing against the best play­ers, ob­vi­ously it’s very im­por­tant to do well. “I do enjoy play­ing here. Great crowds, good at­mos­phere. It’s a really nice venue to play in. “So that’s why I’m dis­ap­pointed with the losses the last two days. I wish I could have done bet­ter. Ob­vi­ously the only pos­i­tive for me this week is I’ve come away from it in­jury-free. “Now I have a couple more days to get ready for Bel­gium (Bri­tain’s Davis Cup fi­nal op­po­nents).” Mur­ray ad­mit­ted he could have few com­plaints about his Tour Fi­nals fail­ure af­ter a lack­lus­tre ef­fort against Rafael Nadal and then an er­ror-strewn loss to Wawrinka.

He in­sisted his in­con­sis­tent ef­forts weren’t the re­sult of spend­ing most of the week be­fore the Tour Fi­nals prac­tic­ing on clay courts at Queen’s Club to pre­pare for the sur­face that will be used in next week’s Davis Cup fi­nal in Ghent. “There’s no ex­cuses. To be hon­est I made too many er­rors. It was tough. I couldn’t quite get the bal­ance,” Mur­ray said. “My tim­ing wasn’t there cer­tainly the last few days. It’s dis­ap­point­ing. “I felt like my tim­ing would get bet­ter as the event sec­ond game of the match with four sweetly-struck, clean win­ners. From then on he was barely trou­bled by the 14-times grand slam cham­pion who could make lit­tle im­pres­sion. A dip­ping back­hand forced a Nadal vol­ley er­ror to give the Ser­bian two break points in the fifth game of the sec­ond set and he con­verted af­ter a fierce base­line rally. There was no way back from there for Nadal. Djokovic was clearly in a hurry to fin­ish the job, break­ing again at 53 with a flurry of pin­point win­ners. He will face ei­ther Roger Federer or Wawrinka in to­day’s fi­nal. —Reuters went on, and it didn’t ac­tu­ally, it got worse. So that is noth­ing to do with not hav­ing enough time to pre­pare.”

Mur­ray had al­ready made it clear be­fore the Tour Fi­nals that his main pri­or­ity at the end of the sea­son was help­ing Bri­tain win the Davis Cup for the first time since 1936. And the for­mer Wim­ble­don cham­pion is con­fi­dent the prospect of vic­tory at the end of a mem­o­rable Davis Cup cam­paign, which has al­ready in­cluded wins over the United States, France and Aus­tralia, will quickly make him forget his Lon­don exit. “I didn’t find it dif­fi­cult not think­ing about the Davis Cup Fi­nal, to be hon­est,” he said. “It’s a great op­por­tu­nity for ev­ery­one. We look for­ward to it.”—AFP LON­DON: Andy Mur­ray of Bri­tain re­acts af­ter los­ing a point against Stan Wawrinka of Switzer­land dur­ing their sin­gles ten­nis match at the ATP World Tour Fi­nals at the O2 Arena in Lon­don on Fri­day, Nov 20, 2015. — AP LON­DON: The ten­nis world was al­ready abuzz with the name John McEn­roe well be­fore Bri­tain ar­rived to play the United States in the 1978 Davis Cup fi­nal in the Cal­i­for­nian desert. He had, af­ter all, reached the Wim­ble­don semi-fi­nals the year be­fore as an 18-year-old qual­i­fier, los­ing to Jimmy Con­nors, and re­peated the feat at the 1978 US Open. But the wild-eyed left-han­der had never been ex­posed to a Davis Cup sin­gles rub­ber for the US and eye­brows were raised when he ousted Arthur Ashe from the team to face Bri­tain-who had reached their first fi­nal since their heady days of 1936.

Not only that but McEn­roe was drawn to play the open­ing rub­ber of the tie at Mis­sion Hills against Bri­tain’s John Lloyd. Lloyd’s team mate Mark Cox, who was to lose the dou­bles with David Lloyd, re­mem­bers what fol­lowed vividly from the safety of his po­si­tion on the court-side bench. “I re­mem­ber we were all quite ex­cited to be fac­ing McEn­roe; he was the new young kid on the block,” Cox, who will be watch­ing in Bel­gium next week when Bri­tain try to win the ti­tle for the first time since 1936 said. “I thought he might be tight, maybe a bit ner­vous. But he served an ace on the first point. Kind of launched him­self into the fray in quite spec­tac­u­lar fash­ion.

“He came out all guns blaz­ing.”There was even a glimpse of the fa­mous McEn­roe tem­per which earned him the “Su­per-Brat” nick­name af­ter he was dis­tracted by the voice of iconic Bri­tish com­men­ta­tor Dan Maskell. “Dan was talk­ing from a bal­cony above the court and it wasn’t en­closed and his lovely tones were drift­ing out to court,” Cox said. “That caused some­thing of a con­fronta­tion be­tween Dan and McEn­roe, Dan got the full Mac glare! “Dan was the voice of Wim­ble­don and for this brash young­ster to get into a con­fronta­tion with him was quite some­thing.”

‘Up against ge­nius’

Un­less Bel­gium have been hid­ing away a po­ten­tial world beater, Bri­tain will have less to fear when they ar­rive in Ghent next week for their first Davis Cup fi­nal since los­ing to the McEn­roe-in­spired Amer­i­cans 37 years ago. World num­ber 16 David Gof­fin is a sweet ball-striker and their num­ber two player Steve Dar­cis once beat Rafael Nadal at Wim­ble­don, but the task fac­ing cap­tain Leon Smith’s side, boast­ing world num­ber two Andy Mur­ray, does not com­pare with the chal­lenge fac­ing Paul Hutchins’ team in 1978. McEn­roe crushed Lloyd 6-1 6-2 6-2 and was equally ruth­less when he de­mol­ished Buster Mottram 6-2 6-2 6-1 to give his team a win­ning 3-1 lead in the sec­ond sin­gles.

“Reach­ing the Davis Cup fi­nal was the high­light of my ca­reer,” Lloyd, who went on to cap­tain the side, re­called in a BBC Ra­dio in­ter­view this week. “And to go up against McEn­roe and get an­ni­hi­lated and be up against ge­nius. I saw shots that I didn’t think could be hit by an­other hu­man be­ing.” Hutchins, who cap­tained the Bri­tish 31 times and master­minded their run to the fi­nal, past a Czech team in­clud­ing a young Ivan Lendl and then archri­vals Aus­tralia in the semis at Crys­tal Palace, said McEn­roe al­ready had an aura. “I knew he would be really good but never imag­ined that good,” he told Reuters. “Brash, con­fi­dent and so tal­ented were my thoughts sit­ting on the side of the court.”—Reuters

LON­DON: Ser­bia’s No­vak Djokovic re­turns to Spain’s Rafael Nadal dur­ing the men’s sin­gles semi-fi­nal match on day seven of the ATP World Tour Fi­nals ten­nis tour­na­ment in Lon­don yes­ter­day. —AFP

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