Fifth time lucky for Murray?
Andy Murray will be competing in his fifth major final after overcoming Tomas Berdych 5-7 6-2 6-1 7-6 (9-7).
Andy Murray progressed to his second US Open final yesterday when he beat the Czech Tomas Berdych in four sets on a blustery day in New York. Having dropped the first set 7-5, the Scot lost just three of the next 15 games, before clinching victory in a tiebreak in the fourth.
Murray is the first Brit since Fred Perry to reach more than one final at the US Open, and is the only player other than his coach, Ivan Lendl, to lose their first four grand slam finals in the open era. Murray will be hoping to replicate Lendl’s record however since the Czech won at his fifth attempt.
With most of the North Eastern US under severe weather warnings, conditions at Flushing Meadows were expected to make life difficult for Murray and Berdych, and so it proved. “It was brutal,” said the British number one. “The ball was moving, stopping, there were chairs flying. They were some of the hardest conditions I’ve ever played in and I come from Scotland, so that’s saying something.”
The wind even blew Murray’s hat off at the conclusion of a rally which he had won, but Berdych successfully pleaded his case to have the point replayed on the grounds that it was a distraction, and the Czech won the replayed point, before going on to take the set. Murray, seemingly still seething from losing the argument during the first set, promptly dominated the next two, and, despite slipping to a 5-2 deficit in the fourth, rallied back to force and win a tiebreak.
With the other semi-final still to come, Murray wasn’t to know whom he would face, but the Scot was keen to praise both his prospective opponents. “Novak and David are very tough opponents,” he said; “Anything can happen in these conditions but I’ll give it everything I have.”
Meanwhile Serena Williams will meet Victoria Azarenka in the final of the women’s tournament after they beat Sara Errani and Maria Sharapova respectively. Williams dominated her opponent in a match in which she dropped just three games, winning 6-1 6-2. The American will now compete in her sixth US Open final, and having fallen at the final hurdle last year in a shock loss to Sam Stosur, Williams will attempt to retake her crown in a match in which she is a firm favourite.
“It’s awesome to be back in the final again,” said the three-time champion. “I dreamt about this all year and I’m really happy. It would be great to win again, but Victoria also wants it. I love playing here. It’s always an honour and such a pleasure.”
Azarenka had slightly more trouble overcoming her opponent, losing the first set to Sharapova 6-3, before overwhelming the Russian with powerful groundstrokes and eventually winning the next two sets 6-2 6-4. The Belarusian will be the first ever player from her country to contest a US Open final.
“To come back was difficult,” she said. “Maria is an incredible fighter. She was playing well and I couldn’t find my rhythm to hurt her.
“I had to stay focused and when the opportunity arrived to step it up, to be aggressive. The momentum changed and I stayed on it.”
The women’s final has been delayed due to the severe weather conditions in New York, and will now be played on Sunday evening instead of Saturday.
Theo Chiles, tennis correspondent