After another impressive win over Switzerland's Roger Federer in the semis, Britain's Andy Murray takes on world number one Rafael Nadal, who earlier eliminated Andy Roddick, in the final of the Masters Series at Indian Wells.
REUTERS - World number one Rafael Nadal will have to reverse a two-match losing streak against Britain's Andy Murray if he is to clinch his 12th Masters Series title on Sunday.
Although the Spanish left-hander leads Murray 5-2 in career meetings, the Scot won their semi-final encounter at the U.S. Open in September and the Rotterdam final earlier this year.
The pair advanced to the final of the ATP event at Indian Wells with contrasting victories on Saturday, Nadal holding off a late challenge by American Andy Roddick to win 6-4 7-6 after Murray had beaten an error-prone Roger Federer 6-3 4-6 6-1.
"It's going to be a challenge for me and I'm going to try to play my best tennis," Nadal told reporters of the task facing him in the title match. "Only like this am I gonna have chances to win against Andy.
"I enjoy playing tennis and being here and sure, I enjoy being in another final. A Masters Series final is very good news for me."
Top seed Nadal, champion here in 2007, has great respect for world number four Murray who has lost just one match out of 21 this season.
"He has played well for the last year," the muscular Spaniard said. "He's a very complete player. He has a good serve and very good control from the baseline. Yeah, everything.
"He has good hands and a very good drop shot. He can play aggressive, he can play defensive."
Nadal is especially aware of the greater consistency Murray now brings to the game.
"Before he has one good match and later he played one set well and then two sets not at the same level," the 22-year-old said. "Right now he's playing all the time very solid.
"You look at his results the last seven or eight months, he's not losing against anyone. He only loses against the best, and not a lot of times. I hope (that changes) tomorrow."
Murray, who has a win-loss record of 3-0 this season against top-10 players, accepts he will have to be at his best to win Sunday's final at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden.
"I've started to play better against him lately, but he's obviously one of the toughest players ever," the 21-year-old Scot said. "I have to play some of my best tennis."
Date created : 2009-03-22