Sunday, 8 May 2016

Halep wins Madrid - Novak & Andy in final

Sixth seed Simona Halep has easily won the Madrid Open final against Dominika Cibulkova.  Holding serve throughout, the Romanian clinched her first title of 2016 with a consistent display of the type of tennis which pushed her to number two or three in the world from mid 2014 to the start of this year.  Since then that ranking has dropped from two to seven.  6-2 was the first set score, and while Cibulkova fought hard in a closer second set Halep was not letting this one slip and the 6-2 6-4 result was a fair representation of the match.

Men's semis were held on the same day, and the two top seeds, one and two in the world, won through to the final.  Novak Djokovic defeated Kei Nishikori in straight sets but not before stumbling at 6-3 5-4 and 40-0.  Three of the most atrocious points from the world's best, including a double fault, allowed Nishikori back into the game, giving him the impetus to not only break the Djokovic serve for the first time in the tournament, but hold confidently and take the lead 6-5.  The top seed now needed to hold serve just to ensure a tie break.
This he did, steadying himself for a tie break which he controlled from the start, enabling the match to end in two sets and give Novak a shot at Andy Murray in the final.

Yes, Murray found a way past Rafa Nadal 7-5 6-4 and with a final spot confirmed, put himself within touching distance of the trophy which he won last year.  
Despite a woeful first serve percentage in set one, Murray's success rate on his serve was marginally better than Nadal and his one extra service break gave him the set 7-5.

Set two was one of wasted opportunity for Nadal, who had nine break points on the Murray serve, but converted only once.  Murray, however, converted both of his mere two chances, and that again translated into a set win, and a march to the final 7-5 6-4.

Murray has lost all three previous matches on clay to Djokovic, but with the form he is currently displaying must fancy his chances this time round.  Djokovic also has every reason to be confident, having been so strong on serve this week, and just because he has been so superior to everyone for the past 18 months.

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