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Nadal crushes Murray to reach semi-finals

sports Updated: Jul 03, 2008 01:15 IST

AFP
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Rafael Nadal crushed Andy Murray, as well as the wild hype surrounding the young Briton, to ease into his third successive Wimbledon semi-final on Wednesday.

The second seeded Spaniard cruised to a 6-3, 6-2, 6-4 win and will face either Germany's Rainer Schuettler or Arnaud Clement of France for a place in the final.

Four-time French Open winner Nadal, the runner-up to Roger Federer here for the last two years, comfortably defeated the 21-year-old Briton for the fourth time in four meetings as Murray's Centre Court party fizzled out.

"I played probably my best match against a difficult opponent," said Nadal who sent down only 10 unforced errors.

"I was very aggressive on my forehand and backhand and had a lot of power. But I was surprised to win in straight sets and I'm happy to be in the semi-finals."

Murray had reached the quarter-finals of a Grand Slam for the first time after coming from two sets down to knock out French eighth seed Richard Gasquet in a gruelling four-hour match on Monday.

But he never got out of first gear against the muscular Spaniard who wrapped up victory in just under two hours.

A wild smash from Murray gave Nadal the only break of the first set for a 5-3 lead which allowed the world number two to secure the opener.

A double fault handed Nadal a 2-1 lead in the second set which was backed up by another break in the seventh game as the Centre Court, so buoyant on Monday, feared the worst.

Murray ran out of steam and a break in the seventh game of the third set proved decisive and the tie was over when the Scotsman hit a weary return long.