Tue, Feb 17, 2009 - Page 20 News List

Nadal hampered by knee injury as Murray wins title

AFP , ROTTERDAM, NETHERLANDS

World No. 1 Rafael Nadal suffered another knee injury as he slipped to a 6-3, 4-6, 6-0 defeat to Britain’s Andy Murray at the Rotterdam Open on Sunday.

The fourth-ranked Scot, who won his second title of the year, admitted the knee injury that struck the Spaniard in the second set — and which Nadal refused to discuss — took the sparkle off the final. The Spaniard suffered the problem from the second set and took a treatment break after the third game. From that point on, and through seven straight breaks of serve, the six-time Grand Slam title winner claimed just two points on his serve in the set.

“I’m happy with the week, but not especially with the way that it ended,” said Murray, who also won in Doha last month against Nadal.

“I can’t be disappointed with how I was playing. I knew something was wrong with Rafa as he took about 30kph off of his serve in the second set,” Murray said. “But he was hitting so hard that it was rushing me. That was part of the reason for all of the breaks. I could see him shaking his head. But he’s not the kind of guy who’s going to stop chasing the ball unless there’s a good reason. He said that he sometimes has a knee problem when he plays a lot on hard court.”

Nadal came to Rotterdam a week after lifting the Australian Open and needed three sets in all but one of his matches. The humble Spaniard paid full credit to Murray, who now stands 2-5 in their series and can claim bragging rights as winner of their first final after losing their first five meetings. But Nadal was loathe to discuss his injury, refusing to say it had any bearing on the 1 hour, 50 minute match.

“I came here tired from the Australian Open, but this was still a very important result for me,” the world No. 1 said. “I have to look at the positive. This was a good week for me, especially to reach this final.”

Nadal refused to commit fully to the Dubai event starting in a week.

He is apparently trying to keep all of his options open depending on his fitness after resting this week at home in Mallorca.

“It’s tough when you can’t play to your level. The problem is something from this week, it’s tough to play like this, I couldn’t push off on my shots.” said the player who missed the Davis Cup final in November because of knee worries. “I hope I can play Dubai, we will see what’s going on. I’m not saying anything, but you never know.”

Murray became the first Briton to win Rotterdam after three runner-up finishes by Tim Henman. He improved to 13-1 on the season.

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