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Wimbledon: Rafael Nadal advances to men's final

Nadal_300 Rafael Nadal didn't leave a doubt, never gave Andy Murray much of a chance. Scampering around the court without evidence of the pain in his knee that had caused Nadal to call for a trainer earlier in the tournament, but with the enthusiasm of a man confident in his skills, Nadal quieted the crowd early and late on Centre Court as he dominated Scotland's Murray, 6-4, 7-6 (6), 6-4.

Nadal, seeded second and owner of one Wimbledon title already (in 2008), was powerful and creative with his shot-making against the fourth-seeded Murray and will be the favorite in the men's final Sunday. The Spaniard will play 12th-seeded Tomas Berdych, who won earlier Friday and is a first-time Grand Slam finalist.

The win makes Nadal one of three men (the others are Bjorn Borg and Roger Federer) who have made the finals of both the French Open and Wimbledon at least four times. Going into Friday's match, Nadal had lost more sets (five) than any of the other semifinalists, but his purpose was immediately clear against Murray -- to punish Murray from the baseline. And he did. Murray said he felt "overpowered" by Nadal.

"He's my favorite player to watch," Murray said of Nadal. And that happened too often for Murray on Friday. He was left watching as Nadal's shots flew past.

Nadal had missed a chance to defend his 2008 Wimbledon title last year when he sat out the tournament because of a knee injury.

-- Diane Pucin in Wimbledon, England

Photo: Rafael Nadal plays Andy Murray on Friday. Credit: Geoff Caddick / EPA.

 
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