/ Tennis

Rafael Nadal and Andy Murray to meet in Italian Open quarter-final

Updated: Thursday, 15 May 2014 21:05 | Comments

Andy Murray: 'I'd love to play against [Rafa] - it will be a great match for me with the French Open just around the corner'
Andy Murray: 'I'd love to play against [Rafa] - it will be a great match for me with the French Open just around the corner'

Rafael Nadal and Andy Murray will meet for the first time since 2011 after booking their respective places in the quarter-finals of the Italian Open in Rome.

World number one Nadal was forced to fight back after squandering a first set lead before defeating Mikhail Youzhny 6-7 (4/7) 6-2 6-1.

Earlier, Murray kept his side of the bargain on his 27th birthday with a 7-6 (7/1) 6-4 win over Austrian veteran Jurgen Melzer.

Nadal and Murray have met 18 times with the Spaniard leading the head-to-head 13-5, including a straight sets win in their 2011 French Open semi-final.

Having battled through the previous round against Gilles Simon, Nadal looked set for another marathon after squandering a 5-3 first set lead to fall behind on a tie-break.

Youzhny then went a break up early in the second set before Nadal found his range, reeling off 10 of the next 11 games to secure victory in two hours and 44 minutes.

Murray's progress was also far from straightforward as he was broken in the first game of the match before fighting back to take the first set on a tie-break.

Melzer hit back from an early break in the next but Murray held firm and ultimately claimed victory with an ace after one hour and 41 minutes.

Murray said of his match with Nadal: "I'd love to play against him - it will be a great match for me with the French Open just around the corner because I'll see where my game's at and where I need to improve."

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