Murray relishing Nadal showdown

Hampshire Chronicle: Andy Murray, right, and Rafael Nadal will do battle Andy Murray, right, and Rafael Nadal will do battle

Andy Murray is relishing the chance to play Rafael Nadal for the first time since 2011 after setting up a showdown with the world number one in the quarter-finals of the Internazionali BNL d'Italia.

Murray, who turned 27 on Thursday, progressed through with a 7-6 (7/1) 6-4 win over Jurgen Melzer and he was later joined in the last eight by Nadal after the reigning champion defeated Mikhail Youzhny 6-7 (4/7) 6-2 6-1

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

Injuries to both players have kept them apart for their last couple of years, but Murray welcomed the chance to renew their rivalry.

''I'd love to play against him, it'd 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,'' Murray said after his clash with Melzer and before Nadal took to the court against Youzhny.

''I haven't played him for a long time, it's been at least two and a half, three years since we played.''

The seventh seed added: ''This week I've wanted to try and play solid tennis as much as possible and I did a pretty good job today.''

Nadal is also looking forward to facing the Wimbledon champion later on Friday.

The 27-year-old, who is looking to claim the Rome title for the eighth time, said on www.atpworldtour.com: "It's a positive match to play because you play against one of the best players of the world after two tough days.

"I don't know how he has changed his play. I know he has a complete game but I have to focus on myself."

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