Paris, June 2 : His ankle is hurting and his next opponent is Rafael Nadal.Fourth-seeded Andy Murray reached the French Open semifinals by beating Juan Ignacio Chela 7-6 (2), 7-5, 6-2 Wednesday, but he's not particularly happy with his game ahead of his match against five-time champion Nadal.
"I'm surprised I'm here, to be honest, because I haven't actually played that well," said Murray, who tore a tendon in his right ankle in the third round. "That's a very good sign for me, because a few months ago I was not playing well and losing badly. I haven't been playing that well. I'm in the semis of a Slam. That's a good sign."
After reaching the Australian Open final in January, Murray went through a four-match losing streak. But he is now enjoying his best clay-court season, having already reached the semifinals in Monte Carlo and Rome.
He lost to Nadal in Monte Carlo, but pushed the top-ranked Spaniard to three sets.
"I think in the buildup to the French I was playing very well, and now I'm going to have to get that level out on Friday and sustain it for a long period to beat Rafa," Murray said. "But I feel I can do it. It's just making sure that on Friday I will play my best tennis.
"I have to play a very consistent match, and I have to be mentally strong."
Murray already showed his mental resources this week when he came back from two sets and a break down to defeat Viktor Troicki in a fourth-round match that took two days to complete.
Against Chela, Murray said his ankle didn't bother him too much, giving him some confidence ahead of Friday's match against Nadal.
"I've got two days to rest up, recover, and get ready for Rafa, which is always one of the most exciting matches for me on the tour," Murray said. "I'm glad I've got tomorrow off where I can rest and recover. It does make a big difference. Forty-eight hours are enough to recover and calm myself down and take everything in and go from there."
On a windy Court Suzanne Lenglen, Chela broke twice to open a 4-1 lead with a forehand passing shot straight at Murray, who struggled physically and even looked out of breathe after long rallies.
But Murray saved two set points at 5-3, the second with a backhand drop shot. He then broke to level the score at 5-5 with a forehand winner and won five points in a row in the tiebreaker.
"Then I got up in the second (set), sort of maybe lost concentration a little bit, which you can't afford to do against someone like Juan, who has a lot of experience on this surface," Murray said. "Something I definitely won't get away with against Rafa."
Chela said Murray didn't seem diminished at all by his ankle injury.
"If he was really injured, I don't believe he would have been able to run that much," the Argentine said. "We played three hours, and I didn't notice he had any difficulty in running."
Murray is only the second British man in the Open era to reach the French Open semifinals after Tim Henman seven years ago. If he reaches the final, he would be the first Brit in the championship match at Roland Garros since Bunny Austin in 1937.
"Tactically I'm going to have to be very good," Murray said. "So I can definitely win. I just need to play my best." AP