It was a bit like waiting for the bus. For eternity, you wait for one and then two come along one after another. Andy Murray waited 10 years for a single clay-court title and he ended up winning two in a weeks’ time. Last week, Murray and Germany’s Philipp Kohlschreiber played three sets in the BMW Open at Munich over two days on Sunday and Monday in a rain-interrupted final before the Scot won his first ATP World Tour clay-court title. Six days later, Murray made it two titles in a week, when he shocked the undisputed clay-court specialist Rafael Nadal of Spain 6-3, 6-2 to emerge as the 2015 Mutua Madrid champion.
It is an extremely pleasant coincidence for Andy Murray that he has enjoyed his best ever tennis fortnight after marrying long-time girlfriend Kim Sears on April 11, 2015. Over two weeks, Murray has been playing on surfaces, where he hasn’t recorded very impressive performances of his long tennis career. Regardless, he had a dream-like start to the clay-season with a 9-0 streak of back-to-back victories in Munich and Madrid. When he finished on Sunday, he signed on a camera lens and inscribed two words that would please his wife Kim more than anybody else. Murray wrote ‘marriage works’. He also acknowledged in an interview that victory against Rafael Nadal on clay court was never a child’s play and he had the feeling of great pride in managing to win against the Spaniard.
The grand stand of Caja Magica was graced with the Royal presence of Spain’s Queen Sofia, who watched the final with great interest. In their past 20 meetings, Murray had beaten Nadal only five times but never on clay. Therefore he knew what waited for him on the other side as he took to the court against the famous Spaniard in the Caja Magica final. With Nadal unable to replicate his forehand brilliance that he displayed against Tomas Berdych in the semifinal, he allowed Murray to dominate him the final from the start. In the Munich semifinal last week, Murray had beaten Nishikori with a perfect game plan and he employed the same tactics against Nadal. Murray began by breaking Nadal in the second game and build a 3-0 lead. All that the Scot needed to do thereafter was to keep holding serve and he did that to take the first set 6-3.
The second set was much in the line with the script of the first as Murray converted on his second break opportunity and had an early advantage. The backhand master from Great Britain wore down Nadal with a relentless barrage of shots that fell on Nadal’s forehand and the Spaniard was forced into errors. Murray secured another break of serve to lead 3-0. As the game progressed, Nadal’s unforced-error count soared and with Murray holding his ground, it was only a matter of time before the Scotsman earned his first match point in the eighth game. Murray didn’t prolong the inevitable as he converted immediately and won his first ATP World Tour Masters 1000 title on clay. This was also Murray’s first ever victory over Nadal on the clay-surface.