After another error-prone game, this time against Switzerland’s Stan Wawrinka, Andy Murray lost the chance to enter the semifinals of the 2015 Barclays ATP World Tour Finals. The off-shoot of Murray’s defeat will be his sad exclusion from the Final Four at O2 in London, where the other three entrants are the members of the Big-4 Club that has dominated the world tennis scene over the last decade. The most satisfactory situation is Rafael Nadal coming back in the reckoning after his rather lackluster show in the 2014 and 2015 seasons. On Friday, Wawrinka made his third consecutive semifinal appearance in the World Tour semifinals by beating Britain’s Andy Murray, who looked like hitting a bad patch this week with two losses in three games. For a place in the final, Wawrinka will have to beat his more illustrious compatriot Roger Federer on Saturday. In the other semifinal, old foes Serbia’s Novak Djokovic and Spain’s Rafael Nadal will square off with each other. In the men’s doubles semifinal line-up, top seeds and defending champions Bob and Mike Bryan of USA take on Netherlands’ Jean Julien Rojer and Romania’s Horia Tecau while India’s Rohan Bopanna and Romania’s Florin Mergea play against the Croatian-Brazilian combo of Ivan Dodig and Marcelo Melo.
Andy Murray played an uninspiring match against Switzerland’s Stan Wawrinka on Friday. In the 66-minute first set, the two players traded breaks in the eighth and ninth games after Murray took an early 4-2 lead. Later, however, Murray became tentative and allowed Wawrinka to reel off 5 points in a row to take the set on tiebreak. Of the top 10 players in Emirates’ ATP rankings, Wawrinka now leads with a 34-12 record in tiebreaks. In the second set, Murray’s game resembled the one he played against Nadal two days ago. Feasting on Murray’s unexplained errors, Wawrinka jumped to a 5-2 lead in the second set and prepared to serve out the match. At this stage, Murray attempted one last push to get back into the match by breaking Wawrinka. But it proved too little too late as Wawrinka had already built the necessary cushion. On his next service game, the 30-year old Swiss closed the match in just under 2 hours with a 7-6, 6-4 victory. Next up for Wawrinka is countryman Roger Federer on Saturday in an all-Swiss semifinal.
The other men’s semifinal on Saturday will feature long-time rivals Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal. Djokovic had made the semifinals grade on Thursday night with a straight sets victory over Czech Republic’s Tomas Berdych while Nadal took three sets in his victory against compatriot David Ferrer. It will be the 46th meeting between the two, a record by itself in the Open Era. Despite losing 7 out of his last 8 matches against Djokovic, Nadal still holds a narrow 23-22 head-to-head advantage. It is very similar to the 22-21 lead that Federer has against the Serb. However, the way Djokovic has performed in the 2014 and 2015 seasons and his current form; he is very likely to switch the lead positions pretty soon.
In men’s doubles, the Indian-Romanian team of Rohan Bopanna/Florin Mergea will lock horns with Croatia’s Ivan Dodig/Brazil’s Marcelo Melo while top seeds and defending champions Bob and Mike Bryan will play against Jean-Julien Rojer(Netherlands)/Horia Tecau (Romania).