Monday, September 10, 2012

Murray reaches US Open final

Updated September 09, 2012 14:11:22

Olympic champion Andy Murray, trying to become the first British man to win a grand slam title since 1936, withstood blustery conditions to beat Tomas Berdych and reach the US Open final.

Third seed Murray advanced by defeating the Czech sixth seed 5-7, 6-2, 6-1, 7-6 (9-7) and will face either defending champion Novak Djokovic or Spanish fourth seed David Ferrer.

Murray, who owns a 6-5 career record against Ferrer but trails Djokovic 6-8 in their all-time rivalry, was left not knowing who he will face in the final after the other semi-final was suspended until Monday (AEST) with Ferrer ahead 5-2.

As a result the men's final will start at 6.00am Tuesday (AEST).

"It was brutal," Murray said, after a tornado warning had been issued earlier in the day.

"Some of the hardest conditions I have ever played in, and I come from Scotland so that's saying something."

Trying to end a British men's slam drought dating to Fred Perry's 1936 US title, the 25-year-old Scotsman battled through brutal winds to reach his fifth career grand slam final, his second in a row after falling at Wimbledon.

After collecting an Olympic crown last month, avenging his Wimbledon final loss to Roger Federer in the final, this might at last be Murray's moment.

"I hope so," Murray said.

"You can never say for sure. I know how hard these tournaments are to win.

"When the conditions are like they were today anything can happen. You have to be there from the first point to the last."

Murray and his coach, eight-time grand slam champion Ivan Lendl, are the only Open-era players to drop their first four grand slam finals, Murray losing at the 2008 US Open, 2010 and 2011 Australian Opens and last June at Wimbledon.

Despite wicked breezes, Murray connected on 74 per cent of his first serves and won 73 per cent of those points while making only 20 unforced errors to 64 for Berdych.

"The wind blew it away for me," Berdych said.

"It was really hard to play a passing shot in this kind of weather, but on the other hand, it was also tough not to make mistakes and be aggressive."

Wind gusts whipped the net and players' clothing, played havoc with many serve tosses, blew food wrappers across the court to foil several points and even sent Murray's chair and racquet bag onto the playing area late in the second set.

"You had to focus for every single point. You had to get in position for every shot. You weren't going for aces because it was hard enough to get the second serves in," said Murray.

Umpire Pascal Maria turned off the electronic system to signal let serves after wind gusts set off random beeps.

"This is not about show. This is just about somehow to try to deal with the conditions and then trying to put ball over the net," Berdych said.

"Sometimes it was impossible."

Murray, also trying to become the first man to win the Olympic and US Open titles in the same year, will overtake Spain's Rafael Nadal as world number three this week.

This is the first grand slam event since the 2004 French Open without either Nadal or Roger Federer in the semi-finals.

Nadal was absent with a knee injury while Swiss top seed Federer was ousted by Berdych in the quarter-finals.

With Scottish actor Sean Connery among those watching, Murray dominated the second set and broke Berdych at love to open the third set and again in the third and final games, then broke for a 2-0 lead in the fourth set.

Berdych, who will match his career-best ranking of sixth this week, broke back in the fifth game and they held to the tie-break, where Berdych took a 5-2 lead on a 129-mph ace but errors on the next three points pulled Murray even.

Murray, who lost four of six prior matches to Berdych, took advantage on his second match point to end it two minutes shy of four hours.

"I just tried to hang on and got through in the end," Murray said.


Tags: sport, tennis, united-states

First posted September 09, 2012 06:28:09

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