History-making Andy Murray ended Britain's 76-year wait for a men's Grand Slam champion when he beat 2011 winner Novak Djokovic 7-6 (12-10), 7-5, 2-6, 3-6, 6-2 in an epic US Open final on Tuesday (AEST).
Murray became Britain's first major champion since Fred Perry claimed his third American title in 1936, the year the Spanish Civil War started and Franklin D. Roosevelt was re-elected US president.
In a roller-coaster final, which witnessed a 54-shot rally, numerous 30-stroke exchanges, as well as a record-setting tie-breaker, the 25-year-old Murray held his nerve in a knife-edge final set.
The Olympic champion led 3-0 in the decider, dropped serve but broke again for 5-2 when Djokovic called a medical time-out.
Murray was not to be denied, taking the historic crown when Djokovic went long with a forehand on a second match point in what was, at four hours and 54 minutes, the equal-longest US Open final of all time.
Murray had lost all of his four previous Grand Slam finals - to Roger Federer at the US Open in 2008, the 2010 Australian Open and this year's Wimbledon, as well as to Djokovic in Australia in 2011.
But cheered on by fellow Scots Sir Sean Connery and Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson, he survived a thrilling fightback by Djokovic, a five-time major winner who had defeated Murray in an epic five-setter in the Australian Open semi-finals in January.
"I proved that I can win the grand slams," a relieved Murray said.
"And I proved that I can last four-and-a-half hours and come out on top against one of the strongest guys physically that tennis had probably seen, especially on this surface.
"(I learned) to not doubt myself physically and mentally from now on. I'm sure that would have a positive impact in the future."
It was Murray's 24th career title and his win denied Djokovic the chance to claim the biggest pay-day in the history of the sport, $US2.9 million ($2.8 million) for winning the trophy as well as having the best record in the lead-up tournaments.
Djokovic had spent five hours fewer than Murray on the court in reaching his fourth US Open final, but fitness was not an issue in the opening exchanges.
It was a battle to see who could master the vicious wind that suddenly whipped up inside Arthur Ashe Stadium as play got underway.
Both players were broken in the first two games before Murray nipped ahead 3-2 with a break courtesy of Djokovic's third double fault in just three service games.
Murray went to 4-2 despite Djokovic coming out on top in a 54-shot rally.
The Serb retrieved the break for 4-4 before serving two love games going into the tie-break.
The 24-minute tie-breaker, a record for a men's championship match at the tournament, featured a 30-shot rally and a 33-shot exchange before Murray took it on a sixth set point after a marathon 87-minute set.
Murray, sensing his place in the history books, raced to a 4-0 and 5-2 lead in the second set before Australian Open winner Djokovic, a five-time Grand Slam champion, clawed back to 5-5.
The Scot held for 6-5 and carved out two set points when the Serb sent a wild overhead wide.
Djokovic saved one but handed the second set to his opponent with a misguided forehand which also sailed away on the breeze.
But the world number two was not going down without a fight.
A year ago, he came back from two sets and two match points down to beat Federer in the semi-finals and on Tuesday he took the third set 6-2 on the back of a double-break.
Murray wilted under the barrage as the once-uncertain Djokovic became a sure-footed shot-maker, levelling the final by taking the fourth set 6-3.
Djokovic said he gave it everything but was unable to stop Murray winning his first grand slam title.
"He deserved to win this grand slam more than anybody because over the years he has been a top player, he has been so close, lost four finals," Djokovic said.
"Now he has won it so I would like to congratulate him. Definitely happy that he won it."
Djokovic, world No. 1 Roger Federer and Spain's Rafael Nadal had won 29 of the prior 30 Grand Slam titles with Murray the only rival who had consistently challenged the top trio and repeatedly reached grand slam finals.
"Us four, we are taking this game to another level," Djokovic said. "It's really nice to be part of such a strong men's tennis era."
AFPTags: tennis, sport, united-states First posted September 11, 2012 11:04:13