Murray blows Berdych off the court

By for MurraysWorld.com on
The battering wind did its worst, but in the end it was Andy Murray who blew Tomas Berdych off Arthur Ashe court to move into his second US Open final, edging a tense, cagey affair 5-7 6-2 6-1 7-6.

Before this match, the Scot had promised to go at Berdych from the off. But with a near gale-force wind swirling fast-food wrappers, crisp bags and even chairs across the court, Plan B was soon mobilised.

At first, Murray’s tactics – so cat-and-mouse, it was like a boxed set of Tom and Jerry – appeared to pay dividends, as he drifted low, ambiguous groundshots into his opponent’s strike zone. With Berdych unable to set himself properly for his vicious backcourt play, it looked like a tactical masterclass, and the Scot broke for 2-1.

It was a false dawn. Berdych gained the measure of his groundshots and broke right back, aided by a kerfuffle over Murray’s displaced hat, which sparked an animated discussion over the net tape with the tetchy Czech.

With the players constantly revisiting their service tosses, beckoning ballboys to collect hats and pizza wrappers from the playing surface and cussing at Mother Nature, this was a match for purists and weather experts only.

The meteorological purism continued until 5-6, when Murray threw in a service game as wild as the New York winds to concede the opening set.

It was time to abandon Tom and Jerry. Murray said ‘That’s all, folks’ and moved on to Plan B. The opening set had been so technically strained and edgy, it was like the interval in a Pinter play, but the Scot soon began to strike through the ball, taking the wind out of Berdych’s sails and storming to a 5-1 lead.

In the first set, Murray had sliced and diced for Scotland, but now his topspin drives took the initiative and he sealed the second set with a service winner.

Set three was a similar story, the British number one becoming puppet-master, tugging the Czech around the court and powering through Berdych’s defences to lead 4-0, as the new world number six took an extended mental vacation. With Berdych visibly affected by the conditions and unable to plunder his treasure trove of easy service winners, Murray sealed the set 6-1.

The fourth opened in similar fashion and Murray’s fans hoped the Scot would blow Berdych off court just as easily as the chairs, kitbag and crisp packets blew onto it at the end of the third.

As the Scot carved out a 3-0 lead, so it seemed. But the gusts had dropped slightly to merely hurricane force and some tornado forehands and nuclear serving from the Czech pegged the Scot back at 3-3.

Berdych was pressing, but Murray was always able to exert scoreboard pressure by clinging onto his serve, even though that sometimes meant making a thousand micro-adjustments to his foot positioning and catapulting himself into seemingly impossible improvisations. This match was no breeze.

Inevitably, this tense, nervous headache of an encounter frazzled its way into a fourth-set tiebreak. Despite falling behind 2-5, Murray drew on his superior breaker record in 2012 (13-5, against Berdych’s 16-14) to claw his way back and seal it with some unanswerable groundshot missiles.

The new world number three now awaits the winner of the Ferrer-Djokovic semi-final, aware that he stands on the threshold of his fifth grand-slam final. His coach, Ivan Lendl, will have no need to remind him of the significance of the number.

Chairs and bags blown onto court:

add comment | 96 comments
Nice opening there, Nige. Smile
September 08, 2012, 09:44 PM
By scotnadian

Andy Murray overcame Tomas Berdych and a howling gale to reach his fifth grand slam final at the US Open.

A storm delayed the start of play and, although the rain cleared, an extremely strong wind blew the whole way through the match, disrupting play on numerous occasions and making life extremely tough for both players.

But, although Murray lost a tight first set, it was he who coped with the conditions better, surviving a fightback in the fourth set from Berdych to win 5-7 6-2 6-1 7-6 (9/7) in three hours and 58 minutes.

Talking about the conditions afterwards to CBS, Murray said: "You have to focus for every point. The chairs were flying onto the court, it was hard to serve.

"It's some of the hardest conditions I've ever played in and I come from Scotland so that's saying something."

He added: "From the end of the first set I was in control. At 3-0 in the fourth I had three break points, but from the far side of the court it was very tough so I got broken in the next game. I just tried to hang in there and I did a good job at the end."

The result also means Murray will overtake Rafael Nadal to become the new world number three, but most importantly it gives him the chance to claim his first grand slam title.

Murray will meet either defending champion Novak Djokovic or Spain's David Ferrer in the final and, asked if he feels this is his time after winning Olympic gold, Murray said: "I hope so.

"You can never say for sure, I know how hard these tournaments are to win. David and Novak are top, top players.

"When the conditions are like this, anything could have happened. I'll give everything in the final."

From Team GB website
September 08, 2012, 09:49 PM
By Coldmarek

I was just thinking to myself how incredibly quick you were to write this report, then I saw the OP.
September 08, 2012, 09:58 PM
By TheMadHatter

I did once post one eight minutes after the end of the match.
September 08, 2012, 10:09 PM
By Grabcopy

The 1st and 4th sets were really tight though so don't think Andy blew him off the court. He rarely hit hard in fact. Was more into slicing and dicing. Anyway, good report overall.
September 08, 2012, 10:47 PM
By Emma Jean

That last point in the TB and the way Andy pumped his fist as he won was really something of a treat.
September 08, 2012, 10:48 PM
By Emma Jean

Great Match, Love the way he kept his cool as Berdych came back in the Tie-Break.  Now he gets the day off as AA evacuated due to Tornado Warning.  Novak and Ferrer back at 4.00 p.m. UK Time.  This is Andy's time to win a Slam. C'MON ANDY!! yay
September 08, 2012, 10:59 PM
By alisonfiner

"Chairs and bags blown onto court (1 video)"

That wasn't caused by wind. It was the ghost of Federer handing out some poltergeist action at the sheer cheek of Murray going through on his contractually arranged easy side of the draw.
September 08, 2012, 11:26 PM
By drchef

Entertaining to read Nigel. Well done, and well done Andy Murray.
September 08, 2012, 11:26 PM
By lashurst

 yay so excited! 3 grand slam finals this year. Got a good feeling about this one!
September 08, 2012, 11:29 PM
By Hazybear

add comment | 96 comments
Shenzhen Open: 22 - 28 September
How many Grand Slams will Murray win in his career?
1-2
3-5
6-8
9+