Rafael Nadal and Andy Murray set up semi final showdown at Miami

Miami Masters 2012
By Rajesh Srinivasan, March 29th, 2012

The quarterfinals in the bottom half of the men’s draw at the Sony Ericsson Open at Miami took place on Wednesday. Second Seed Rafael Nadal reached the semi final with a hard fought victory over sixth seed Jo Wilfried Tsonga 6-2, 5-7, 6-4 in two hours and fifty minutes.

Rafael Nadal to meet Andy Murray in the semi finals of Miami Masters 2012

Nadal got off to a good start breaking Tsonga’s serve in the very first game after Tsonga had led 40-0. Nadal then had break point for 3-0 but hit a return long. At 2-1, Nadal was in trouble on serve at 15-40 but saved both playing aggressive tennis. Nadal broke again with some superb returns and passing shots to lead 4-1. Nadal served out the set at 6-2 with the help of some big serves and a heavy forehand winner. Nadal missed a couple of break points early in the first set but broke through to 3-2 with the help of good returns and dipping passing shots that Tsonga couldn’t control.

Leading 6-2, 4-2, Nadal seemed in control and served for the match at 5-4. In this pivotal game, Nadal couldn’t get a first serve in as he served a double fault and found himself down two breakpoints and Tsonga broke serve on a backhand error from Nadal. This is where playing Tsonga is difficult. When Tsonga gets on a roll, he is hard to stop. Tsonga gaining more confidence broke serve again to win the second set at 7-5.

The third set was even at 4-4 when Nadal lifted his game to break serve with the help of hard hitting shots. During the changeover a frustrated Tsonga complained to the umpire about a couple of bad calls against him which he had challenged and won. However it’ s debatable if Tsonga should have been allowed to challenge in the first place as the rules state that he should stop playing but Tsonga had hit the ball and then challenged.

Nadal then served for the match for a second time at 5-4 and this game produced more drama as both players came up with some high quality tennis. At 15-30 down, Nadal came up with a stunning volley at full stretch while Tsonga too came up with inspired tennis to save couple of match points and go up break point. Nadal saved two breakpoints before finally winning on his third match point just after midnight.

Earlier in the day session Fourth seed Andy Murray beat ninth seed Janko Tipsarevic 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 after coming back from a set and break. Murray started the match well leading 4-2 but then lost four games in arrow to drop the first set. Murray overcame a stomach ailment and windy conditions as he battled back from a break down in the second set.

The women’s quarterfinal witnessed a major upset as World No.1 Victoria Azarenka who was unbeaten in 2012 with a 26-0 record lost to Marion Bartoli 6-3, 6-3. Azarenka was chasing a 37-0 start to season by Martina Hingis in 1997.

Radwanska beat Venus Williams in straight sets to enter semi final.


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