INDIAN WELLS: World number one Rafael Nadal will try to add the first Masters Series title of 2009 to his Australian Open crown when he meets Andy Murray in the final at Indian Wells on Sunday.
Nadal, titlist here in 2007, defeated home favourite Andy Roddick 6-4, 7-6 (7/4) to reach the final, while world number four Murray ousted world number two Roger Federer 6-3, 4-6, 6-1.
Nadal reached his third final of 2009, the first being his memorable triumph over Federer in the Australian Open championship match.
He was beaten by Murray in the championship match in Rotterdam, and said the 21-year-old Scot poses a demanding challenge.
Nadal, owner of 11 elite Masters Series titles, leads their career head-to-head 5-2,
He had his difficult moments against Roddick, and particularly regretted surrendering his serve in the fourth game of the second set, when he had just managed to break the American.
That rankled more than his failure later to serve out the match at 5-4, particularly since Nadal led the earlier game 30-love.
"For me that's the worst, because in 5-4 you are serving for the match and always is tough. But at 6-4, 2-1, 30-0, I had the match completely under control. This is not the right moment to lose that game," he said.
Nadal said swirling winds on stadium court contributed to the four breaks of serve in the second set. But he was never in trouble in the tiebreaker.
"It was important I played better the tiebreak," he said. "The 5-6 game with my serve I played better, I started to play a little bit more aggressive, I served a little bit better. In the tiebreak I did the same."