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Nadal squeezes past Murray in epic Rome quarter-final

Published on May 17, 2014 8:29 AM
Spain's Rafael Nadal returns the ball to Britain's Andy Murray during the Rome Masters Tennis match on May 16, 2014, at the Foro Italico in Rome. -- PHOTO: AFP

ROME (AFP) - World number one Rafael Nadal dug deep to maintain his chances of defending his Rome Masters title after a gutsy come-from-behind 1-6, 6-3, 7-5 win over Andy Murray in the quarter-finals on Friday.

Murray had won only five of his last 18 matches against Nadal but held the bragging rights from their last two - a walkover win in the semis of the Miami Masters and victory in the final of the Tokyo Open in 2011, both hardcourt events.

And despite doubts lingering over the Scot's form following an absence from the tour due to back surgery at the start of the year, Murray produced a stunning performance at the Foro Italico to underline his form ahead of the French Open later this month.

The Scot raced to a 6-1 win in the opening set, leaving clay-court kind Nadal to tinker with tactics in the second set in a bid to pull level.

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