INDIAN WELLS, California (Reuters) - Top seed Rafael Nadal overpowered British world number four Andy Murray 6-1 6-2 with a ruthless display of hardcourt tennis to win the ATP title at Indian Wells on Sunday.
The Spanish left-hander produced some superb form on a windy day in the California desert, dictating most of the rallies from the baseline before wrapping up victory in 80 minutes.
World number one Nadal, the champion here in 2007, broke Murray in the fourth and sixth games to sweep through the opening set in 41 minutes at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden.
The Australian Open champion again broke the Scot in the fifth game of the second, working his opponent from side to side in a well-constructed rally before whipping a forehand crosscourt winner into open space.
Murray was broken for a fourth time in the seventh game when he netted a forehand and Nadal comfortably held serve in the eighth to clinch his 13th Masters Series title.
“Conditions today were really difficult,” Nadal told reporters after extending his win-loss record against Murray to 6-2. “But I have a good strategy and I played a really good match with those conditions.
“Probably Andy didn’t play his best because of the conditions but I played a really complete match. I was moving very well, I never stop the legs during the whole match, and I think that was the key today.
“I don’t know if I was a little bit more prepared than him to play in these conditions,” added the 22-year-old, who has won three of the last four grand slam singles titles. “Maybe I accept (the conditions) a little bit better than him.”
Nadal was delighted to defeat Murray after losing to the Scot in their previous two encounters.
“Andy was the only big top player who I didn’t beat this year so it was important,” the Spaniard said. “It’s an important win for me, no? But the most important thing for me is win the title.”
Murray, who beat an error-prone Roger Federer 6-3 4-6 6-1 in the last four to reach his third ATP final of the year, paid tribute to the Spaniard’s performance on a wind-swept stadium court.
“I’d like to congratulate Rafa,” the 21-year-old said. “He definitely deserved to win. He played great in difficult conditions.
“I haven’t played in conditions as windy as that for quite a long time. Rafa dealt with it very well. He hit the ball cleaner and just seemed to get himself in better positions than I did.
“You don’t necessarily want to be doing a whole lot of defending and running. You want to be in the best position possible to hit each ball, and I wasn’t. That’s why he managed to dictate most of the points.”
“But I’ve had a great start to the year and hopefully I can keep it going,” added Murray, who has won ATP titles this season in Rotterdam and Doha.
Editing by Martin Petty