By Anand Philar, IANS
Chennai : Rafael Nadal kept his emotions and close friendship aside when he took on and beat fellow Spaniard Carlos Moya in the semi-finals of the Chennai Open tennis tournament here Saturday night.
“It was a very emotional match with the crowd getting involved, but reaching the final is a great start for the new season,” said Nadal soon after his 7-6, 6-7, 7-6 win against Moya.
While admitting that he was physically and mentally drained after the three-hour, 55-minute marathon, Nadal said: “The atmosphere was unbelievable and so was the match. We know each other’s game very well and so, we have to give 100 percent for each point and each game, and I am so tired right now.”
Nadal felt that Moya had his chances to win the match. “I was very vary of his forehand and I had to make sure he did not get many opportunities to play those shots. In the end, like I said, it is a great start for the new season,” he said.
Moya, on his part, admitted that he blew his chances, especially in the second set when he had four match points and paid dearly for it.
“Against Rafael, you do not get any cheap points. You have to earn them. In the second set, when I had the matchpoints, I played a few bad balls. And like I said, against Rafa, you need to make the best of every opportunity you get,” said Moya.
On the positive side, Moya said he was happy at his fitness level. “To play the top guys for nearly four hours takes a lot out of you, but the fact that I lasted against Rafa is a good sign. I am pretty pleased that I have the fitness to play the top guys,” he said.
He confessed that he was overwhelmed by the crowd support. “It is not every day that you get to play in such an environment. The crowd was great and I thank them for the support they gave me. Chennai is a special place for me and the support I get is unbelievable,” said Moya.
Moya’s popularity grew in leaps and bounds when in 2005 he donated his winner’s cheque of about $58,000 for Tsunami relief projects.