Rafael Nadal is once again in the finals at Roland Garros, making it past the fourth-seeded Andy Murray in straight sets. Murray struggled throughout the entire 2011 French Open, but brought some of his best tennis to Nadal in their semifinal matchup, despite some nagging injuries here and there, most notably to his ankle. Murray's best tennis came during Nadal service games, as is the usual case for the strong returner. Still, he gave up too many breaks at the worst times and despite strong comeback rallies, it wasn't enough to get past the world number one.
And number one he remains, at least for now. Nadal advances to the finals and will await the winner of the matchup between Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer, which started as the Nadal-Murray match came to a close. Nadal took the match 6-4, 7-5, 6-4.
It was a shaky start for Murray, after taking the first game he was broken twice and fell behind, cranking his ankle at one point on a shot he didn't need to chase down. He did threaten a break, on more than on occasion, and ended up dragging the first set into an hour of play, but couldn't get it done. Murray looked like a new man in the second set, but Nadal's play was just too good. His accuracy was some of the best we've ever seen from the Spaniard at Roland Garros, and that's saying a lot. Murray's drop shot worked early, but Nadal quickly wised up to it.
Every time Murray would think he's put Nadal away, the number-one seed would run across the court and send a shot high into the air across the court, and somehow it would find its way in bounds. It was, to say the least, frustrating for Murray, searching for his Grand Slam title. There was a lot to like about his play in this tournament ... but there was also a lot to dislike. Murray had a propensity to struggle with players he should have been blowing out, but the way he altered his game mid-match on more than one occasion to dominate and be aggressive is something that we've yet to see in his game. If the latter trait continues, good things will be in Murray's future.
Nadal, as stated, aways the winner of Federer-Djokovic, going on right now (at the time of writing this) for the finals of this 2011 French Open.