Murray v Nadal: Past meetings

  • By: Andy Schooler (Twitter: @NetTalkTennis)
  • Last Updated: June 6 2014, 6:15 BST

Andy Murray will face Rafael Nadal in Friday's French Open semi-finals.

  • Nadal won the pair's first meeting at the 2007 Australian Open
  • Murray's first win over the Spaniard came in the 2008 US Open semi-finals 
  • Nadal has beaten Murray three times at Wimbledon - here he is celebrating his 2010 triumph 
  • Nadal won the pair's last meeting which came in Rome last month 

It will be their 20th meeting with Nadal currently leading 14-5. It's 5-0 to the Spaniard on the clay.

Here, our Andy Schooler takes a look at the previous meetings between the two.

Australian Open, 2007, L16 (outdoor hard) - Nadal 6-7 6-4 4-6 6-3 6-1

The pair's first meeting came at the highest level and it was a memorable contest. For many, this was the day Murray really proved he could be a Grand Slam contender. Playing some outstanding tennis, Murray edged the first set and led 4-1 in the second. Normal service appeared to have been resumed when the Spaniard stormed back to level but Murray rallied to take the third at which point a shock was truly on the cards. Nadal lost just four more games but that didn't tell the whole story with Murray competitive to the last. He had 10 break points across the final two sets but failed to convert any of them. Nadal was effusive in his praise afterwards, saying: "Andy played to an unbelievable level. He is very smart on court. He was changing his game the whole time, and that made it difficult for me." Many more battles awaited.

Madrid, 2007, L16 (indoor hard) - Nadal 7-6 6-4

"I had chances and I didn't take them," admitted Murray after this contest. His assessment was spot on for this was a story of missed opportunities for the Scot. Break points came and went in the first set. And when he did take one to claim an early lead in the second, he allowed Nadal to fightback and claim the win his native supporters badly wanted.

Hamburg, 2008, L16 (outdoor clay) - Nadal 6-3 6-2

The pair's first meeting on clay came on Murray's 21st birthday and Nadal handed him a tough lesson. Already a three-time French Open champion, the Spaniard outclassed Murray, losing just five games on his favourite surface. "Nadal's forehand is the best shot in tennis," said Murray afterwards. It is a view he holds to this day.

Wimbledon, 2008, QF (outdoor grass) - Nadal 6-3 6-2 6-4

Two days after his memorable comeback win over Richard Gasquet, Murray was brought back down to earth with a bump on Centre Court. He was well beaten, not even managing to create a break-point chance on Nadal's serve. The eventual champion described his performance as his "best so far" in SW19. He would top it in the final against Roger Federer a few days later.

Toronto, 2008, SF (outdoor hard) - Nadal 7-6 6-3

Nadal was becoming a real problem for Murray and this match saw him stretch his unbeaten record against the Briton to five. A double fault handed Nadal the opening set and Murray, who had managed to end his hoodoo against Novak Djokovic in the previous round, was soon a break down in the second. He managed to recover but another break in the eighth game proved his undoing. "I made a few too many errors, and he played solid like always," Murray assessed. Having won his 28th straight match, Nadal would claim the world number one spot a few weeks later.

US Open, 2008, SF (outdoor hard) - Murray 6-2 7-6 4-6 6-4

Murray could not have picked a much better time to claim his first victory over Nadal as it took him into his first Grand Slam final. The contest was played over two days in New York. Murray started superbly and led by two sets to love when rain arrived on day one. When play resumed, Nadal took the third but Murray responded to pull off the shock that few had expected given the thrashing he had suffered at the hands of Nadal at Wimbledon just two months earlier. This was also the match which spawned excited ex-Murray coach Mark Petchey's famous Sky Sports commentary: "He's done it, he's in the final!"

Rotterdam, 2009, F (indoor hard) - Murray 6-3 4-6 6-0

With the duo meeting in a final (and with Nadal in a tailored shirt) for the first time, Murray emerged with the title in the Netherlands but it was something of a hollow victory. Nadal needed treatment on a knee injury in the second set, which he still managed to win, but he was uncompetitive in the decider, unable to push up on his serve. Murray took full advantage, claiming a rare love set against one of the game's most famous fighters.

Indian Wells, 2009, F (outdoor hard) - Nadal 6-1 6-2

This is the most one-sided of the pair's matches so far. Nadal adapted better to the windy conditions in the Californian desert, suggesting afterwards that his better movement had been key. He broke serve twice in each set - in contrast Murray did not fashion a break point - and dominated from the baseline to claim a comfortable victory and another Masters title.

Monte Carlo, 2009, SF (outdoor clay) - Nadal 6-2 7-6

Murray got closer to the 'King of Clay' in this clash but still left the court on the wrong end of a straight-sets defeat. Nadal came into the match having won 136 of his last 140 matches on the surface and soon set about improving that impressive statistic. To his credit, Murray raised his level as the match wore on, saving match point as Nadal tried to serve it out at 5-3. Taken into a tie-break, Nadal was a relieved man when he eventually clinched victory.

Australian Open, 2010, QF (outdoor hard) - Murray 6-3 7-6 3-0 ret

Not for the first time, Nadal's knees let him down. A solitary break gave Murray the opener and, returning well, the Briton fought back from behind in the second set before winning it by convincingly taking the ensuing tie-break. Defending champion Nadal asked for the trainer early in the third and soon after called it a day. It was to prove the Spaniard's one and only Grand Slam defeat of the season. Few would have predicted that as he limped off the Rod Laver Arena.

Murray v Nadal

Overall: Nadal 14-5
On clay: Nadal 5-0
In Grand Slams: Nadal 7-2
In French Open: Nadal 1-0

Wimbledon, 2010, SF (outdoor grass) - Nadal 6-4 7-6 6-4

Almost six months after their Melbourne clash, a fully-fit Nadal reasserted his authority over Murray in the Briton's own back yard. In what was always a tight battle, Nadal's ability to play the big points the best proved crucial. The second-set tie-break was a key moment. During it, Murray had set point on his own serve at 6-5 but then lost three straight points. He was never likely to recover from two sets down and so it proved, Nadal booking his place in his fourth Wimbledon final.

Toronto, 2010, SF (outdoor hard) - Murray 6-3 6-4

Murray claimed his revenge a few weeks later in Canada with a convincing win after which he tellingly revealed: "I like playing Rafa on a hardcourt." Murray regularly pushed Nadal on his own serve and although he allowed the Spaniard to recover from a break down in the second set, it was only a temporary reprieve.

ATP World Tour Finals, 2010, SF (indoor hard) - Nadal 7-6 3-6 7-6

A classic contest which delighted the fans in London's O2 Arena. It was impossible to pick a winner until the final point of the three-hour, 11-minute match. The duo both played to a high level throughout but things hit a peak as the match neared its conclusion. Murray saved a match point at 3-5 and then broke Nadal as the Spaniard served for victory. He looked capable of completing the turnaround when he led the tie-break 4-1 but Nadal, using his feared forehand to the full, stood firm to clinch a hard-earned victory. He later described his performance as "one of the finest matches of my career".

Monte Carlo, 2011, SF (outdoor clay) - Nadal 6-4 2-6 6-1

The first of five 2011 meetings went Nadal's way but Murray did at least manage to claim his first set against his rival on clay. It is probably best remembered for the fact that Murray almost didn't play at all - the match was delayed as he had a pain-killing injection on an elbow injury. However, that is somewhat disrespectful to Murray pushed Nadal hard in the first set and was the better player in the second. However, the clay king refocused in the decider and ran away with it.

French Open, 2011, SF (outdoor clay) - Nadal 6-4 7-5 6-4

The duo met again during the claycourt swing in Paris - their only meeting at Roland Garros thus far. Again the match proved closely fought but again it was Nadal who prevailed. Murray was very much in every set and actually created more break-point chances than his opponent - 18 in all. The problem was he took just three of them, the end result being a straight-sets win for Nadal.

Wimbledon, 2011, SF (outdoor grass) - Nadal 5-7 6-2 6-2 6-4

A third Wimbledon meeting and a third win for Nadal. Murray did win a set this time but was left to rue a bad forehand miss in the second set from which he never recovered. Leading 2-1, Murray, playing the role of aggressor very well, had Nadal at 15-30 but sent a forehand long with the court gaping. The missed opportunity sparked a serious slump in Murray's form and by the time he recovered he was into a fourth set and behind in the match. A classic example of a turning point in a tennis match.

US Open, 2011, SF (outdoor hard) - Nadal 6-4 6-2 3-6 6-2

This was the pair's third meeting in a row in the semi-finals of a Grand Slam and Murray was unable to change the pattern of results. While Murray was far from outclassed, it was again a case of always feeling Nadal was just that bit better. To his credit, Murray launched a fightback, taking the third set and holding a break point early in the fourth. But that quickly disappeared and when he lost his own serve in the following game, the match was all but over. After a fifth straight win for Nadal in their series, Murray described him as "probably the greatest player who has played tennis".

Tokyo, 2011, F (outdoor hard) - Murray 3-6 6-2 6-0

Murray's last win over Nadal is getting on for three years ago. It came in match which saw him dominate the closing exchanges. This time he won a 'genuine' love set; Nadal actually won just four points in the decider. "I played some great tennis and the third set was some of the best I've played against him," said the Briton afterwards. This is the only time Murray has beaten Nadal from a set down.

Rome, 2014, QF (outdoor clay) - Nadal 1-6 6-3 7-5

The pair's most recent meeting came less than a month ago and what a cracker it was. Murray, playing the role of aggressor so well, started like a train and raced through the first set. A stunned Nadal, who had been forced to endure some uncharacteristic struggles on the clay in the weeks leading up to the match, hit back to force a decider and that's when things really got interesting. Nadal appeared to be in full control when he grabbed the early break but Murray reeled off four straight games with the quality of tennis particularly high. However, Nadal refused to wilt, levelled and then gained the decisive break when Murray double-faulted at 5-5. Still, it was by far the closest Murray had been to beating Nadal on clay and afterwards he revealed the match was "the best I've felt physically since the (back) surgery". With hindsight it certainly set him up well for his current run in Paris.


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