ROME: Britain’s Andy Murray will head to the French Open with renewed confidence after coming close to ousting defending Rome Masters champion Rafael Nadal in a thrilling 1-6, 6-3, 7-5 quarter-final defeat.
Murray, who has only recently returned to form following several months out due to back surgery at the end of last year, stunned the Spanish world number one 6-1 in the opening set at the Foro Italico..
World number one Nadal fought back to level the match 1-1 but had to dig deep in a pulsating third set in which he broke the Scot three times before serving out for a 1-6, 6-3, 7-5 win.
Murray admitted his disappointment with failing to win a match that seemed within his grasp, lamenting a “poor” seventh game in the final set which allowed Nadal to break back into contention.
Although claiming a win would not “change my confidence that much”, Murray admitted: “Winning a match like that would probably be a big boost to confidence, but I feel that my game is getting there.
“I don’t think people respect the severity of what it’s like to come back from back surgery... it’s a hard thing to come back from, it takes time.
“Now I’m getting back to where I want to be and that’s pleasing.”
Whether Murray can maintain the intensity and power over the longer, five-set games at Roland Garros remains to be seen.AFP