Andy Murray in the first round of the 2020 US Open, New York, USA
Andy Murray in the first round of the 2020 US Open, New York, USA | (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

Tennis | Mubadala World Tennis Championships 2021 | Murray thrashes Evans in Abu Dhabi to set Nadal showdown

  • Andy Murray def Dan Evans 6-3 6-2
  • Murray v Rafael Nadal | H2H: Nadal leads 17-7
ABU DHABI, UAE – Andy Murray thrashed compatriot Dan Evans to set up a semi-final showdown with Rafael Nadal in the Middle East.

 

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Andy Murray def Dan Evans 6-3 6-2

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Andy Murray began his preparations for the 2022 season with a straight sets victory over Dan Evans in the Middle East. It was the three-time grand slam champion who was dominant throughout, using some aggressive tactics on serve and return to force errors from Evans. A tame forehand into the net from Evans saw Murray take an early break lead and the Scot continued to apply the pressure with some insane defensive shots in rallies.

A double-break was secured with Evans producing another forehand unforced error to lose his service game to love. However as we saw in 2021, Murray lacked that killer instinct to finish the set off at 5-1 as Evans remained patient in long rallies to start a mini-comeback. Evans started to have a good balance between slice and power as he looked to be more patient in rallies. Despite having two break points, the world number 26 couldn’t get back on serve and Murray clinched the opening set with a backhand unforced error from his opponent.

From then on it was all about Murray as his mix of patience and aggression paid off as he sealed a fairly easy double break against an error-prone Evans. Despite Murray conceding one of the breaks back to love in the fourth game, the world number 134 went back onto the attack to break in the next game and virtually clinch victory. The former world number one clinched victory with a powerful wide serve as he got his pre-season off to a positive start.

As for Evans, he will hope to play a little bit better when he takes on Taylor Fritz in a 5th place play-off on Friday.

 

Andy Murray v Rafael Nadal H2H & Match Fundamentals

Andy Murray v Rafael Nadal

H2H: Nadal leads 17-7

Mubadala World Tennis Championships

Abu Dhabi, UAE

Hard

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Third on Centre Court (Not before 15:00 GMT)

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Murray will now renew his rivalry with Rafael Nadal in the semi-finals with the Spaniard playing his first match since losing to Lloyd Harris in the third round of Washington.

 

Tale of the Tape – Key Stats (2021 – Hard)

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H2H:

Andy Murray (WR 143)

Rafael Nadal (WR 6)

Tournament Previous Best

Winner (2015)

Winner (2010, 2016, 2017, 2020)

1st Serve %

57

66

Service Games Won %

82

91

Break Points Saved %

65

67

2nd Serve Return Points Won %

49

54

Break Points Converted %

38

43

The only stat that Murray and Nadal are tight in is break points saved which indicates that the Brit will have to raise his game to a new level on both serve and return to have a chance of victory.

 

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Playing styles and prediction

Injuries once again plagued Nadal’s season with the Spaniard unable to win his coveted Roland Garros title in 2021. The Spaniard has been practicing hard in Spain and Kuwait ahead of the exhibition and will look to put his game to the test in the Middle East ahead of the Australian Open, where he looks for a record-breaking 21st grand slam title.

Murray’s defence will need to be another level to defeat Nadal in a match that brings out so many memories for both players in the past. The key for the match is how both players’ serve is going to hold up with both players favouring their return game in recent matches. The slower conditions give the Spaniard the edge but it should be an entertaining battle in the Middle East.

Prediction: Nadal in three sets.

 

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