Nadal pounces on foe's hair woes, books ATP semis slot
Chris Lehourites (Associated Press) - November 18, 2015 - 11:52pm
LONDON — With his foe struggling both with his serve and his hair, Rafael Nadal took advantage.
Nadal ended up with a 6-4, 6-1 win over Andy Murray Wednesday (Thursday in Manila) for his second straight victory at the season-ending ATP Finals and a spot in the semifinals.
Murray and Nadal traded breaks to open the match, and then Nadal held to make it 2-1. During the changeover, the second-seeded Murray pulled out a pair of scissors and clipped off a few strands of hair.
Nadal said he didn't notice Murray's actions, but laughed when he was told that Murray said his hair was bothering him.
"Was not at the right time to know that," Nadal said before praising Murray's ingenuity with the scissors. "It's a good solution."
Maybe it helped a bit, because Murray then held his serve. But soon Nadal was back on top, breaking to end the first set.
Nadal beat French Open champion Stan Wawrinka in his opening match, and will next face already-eliminated David Ferrer on Friday. Murray will play Wawrinka on the same day for the other spot in the semifinals.
In Wednesday's (Thursday in Manila) late match at the O2 Arena, Wawrinka overcame an early break in the first set to beat Ferrer 7-5, 6-2.
For Nadal, his play so far at the tournament has been a continuation of his late season improvement during a year in which he has lost 19 times, a relatively staggering number for him.
Even at the French Open, a tournament he has won a record nine times, Nadal lost in the quarterfinals. But since his third round exit at the US Open, things have gotten better. He is now 15-4 since then.
"Just another step for me (to) be able to play at that level against such a great player is good news," Nadal said. "Just want to try to keep working the same way to keep confirming that I am in the completely right direction."

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