ATP Mubadala WTC: Rafael Nadal loses to Andy Murray in straight sets

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ATP Mubadala WTC: Rafael Nadal loses to Andy Murray in straight sets

Andy Murray and Rafael Nadal have embraced 24 matches on the ATP Tour, with the most recent in Madrid 2016! Two great rivals shared the court in Abu Dhabi, facing in the semi-final of the 13th edition of the Mubadala World Tennis Championship.

Murray defeated Nadal 6-3, 7-5 in an hour and 50 minutes for the third final at this event, seeking the third title against Andrey Rublev on Saturday. Nadal did not play since early August due to a left foot injury, missing the rest of the season and working hard on his game at home in Mallorca.

As was expected, the 20-time Major winner was a bit rusty today after such a long break, spraying too many unforced errors and losing ground in the second set's closing stages to propel Andy over the finish line. Murray experienced problems in only two service games, serving well and keeping his initial shot intact to mount the pressure on the other side.

Andy Murray defeated Rafael Nadal in Abu Dhabi.

Rafa suffered one break in each set to end his run in the semi-final and experience a loss against an old rival, who looks good ahead of the new season. The encounter kicked off with two commanding holds, and Andy brought the third game home after deuces with a booming serve to remain on the positive side.

Nadal netted a backhand in the sixth game to experience a break and fall 4-2 behind before Murray fired an ace down the T line to confirm the advantage. Rafa secured the eighth game with a smash winner to extend the battle, and Andy landed another unreturned serve in the next one to grab the opener 6-3 and gain a boost.

Nadal fended off two break chances in the second set's opening game with service winners and fired an ace at 1-1 to stay ahead. Delivering aggressive tennis, the Spaniard fended off two break chances in the fifth game and failed to reach break opportunity in game eight despite deuces.

Nadal held from 30-0 down in the ninth game, and he had to produce another good service game at 5-5 to secure a tie break. Instead, he sent a backhand long to experience a break and give Murray the crucial advantage. Serving for the victory, the Briton held at 30 to seal the deal and advance into the title clash.