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Nadal wins Indian Wells title

2009-03-23 07:09

California - World number one Rafael Nadal crushed Scotland's Andy Murray 6-1, 6-2 on Sunday to win the Indian Wells ATP Masters series title.

Nadal, the reigning Australian Open champion, defied difficult, windy conditions to capture the crown in the California desert for the second time, after triumphing here in 2007.

As in the women's final that preceded it, the men's championship match was played in swirling winds that had both players scrambling.

But Nadal, who started the tournament as the top seed for the first time - after Roger Federer came in as the number one the past five years - kept his focus to get the job done in one hour, 20 minutes.

"I played a really good match with those conditions," Nadal said. "Probably Andy didn't play his best because of the conditions, but I think I played a really complete match, moving very well. I never stop the legs during all the match, and I think that was the key on Sunday."

Murray, meanwhile, seemed unable to get to grips with the situation.

"I think I accepted a little bit better than him the conditions on Sunday," Nadal said, and Murray agreed.

"Rafa dealt with it very well," Murray said. "He hit the ball cleaner and seemed to get himself in better positions than I did.

"You don't necessarily want to be doing a whole lot of defending and running," Murray added. "You want to be in the best position possible to hit each ball, and I wasn't."

Despite the defeat, world number four Murray leaves California closing in on world number three Novak Djokovic, whose title defence here ended with a quarter-final loss to American Andy Roddick.

Murray beat Federer in the semis to book his place in the championship match, giving himself a shot at a third title of 2009 to go with those he won in Doha and Rotterdam.

Since those successes Murray has been slowed by illness, withdrawing from the quarter-finals in Dubai and skipping Davis Cup.

Under the circumstances, he said, reaching the final was a good result.

"I don't feel like I'm that disappointed just now with how the week went, because I wasn't expecting to do that well," he said. "Sunday was not my best day, but I'll definitely get over it. I'm guessing I'm not going to play in those conditions each week."

Nadal was playing in his third final in four starts this season, including his five-set Aussie Open triumph over Federer and a loss to Murray in Rotterdam.

Nadal also lost to Murray in the semi-finals of the US Open last September, but the Spaniard said he wasn't out for revenge against the Briton.

"Andy was the only big top player I didn't win against this year, so it's an important win for me. But the most important thing for me is to win the title, not the opponent."

The 22-year-old Spaniard, who saved five match points in a fourth-round victory over Argentina's David Nalbandian to keep his title challenge alive, said adding the first Masters series title of the year to his Australian Open triumph made for a "dream start" to 2009.

He now owns 13 elite Masters titles, and 33 ATP tour trophies - tied for 16th place on the Open Era list with Arthur Ashe and Mats Wilander.

Russian fourth seed Vera Zvonareva won the women's title, denying former world number one Ana Ivanovic a second-straight Indian Wells crown with a 7-6 (7/5), 6-2 victory.

Zvonareva claimed her ninth WTA title, and the biggest of her career and was projected to overtake American Venus Williams for the world number five ranking on Monday, up one spot from her current sixth.

Ivanovic, the reigning French Open champion who was number one for 12 weeks last year, is now seventh in the world and remained in search of her first title of 2009.

AFP

Comments
  • Chris - 2009-03-23 13:17

    Long live king rafa Vamos!!! nadal to complete the grand slam this year!! well i can only hope

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