Murray blows Berdych off the court

By for 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:

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

Brilliant, brilliant result for Andy. I was delighted to see him celebrating his win so openly. He deserved it before he has to collect himself for the final.

Andy had such guts in the tie-break. I screamed when he won!

Wonderful to see him looking so happy with Judy, Fergie and Sean Connery after the match. He looked so delighted, as he should!

Wow, it's what they call a career year for our Andy! Olympic Gold and TWO major finals! Who cares now that he hasn't won a Masters this year? This is better, far better, and so deserved. I tell you, you could build a house on the mental strength he has now.

Tonnes of congrats to the world number three! Wow, qualifying for the WTF, going up the rankings, what next? Oh yes, a maiden slam. I wouldn't bet against our brilliant tough cookie! What a star!
September 08, 2012, 11:31 PM
By teejay1

Sky late nite news, showed Andy, Judy with the "sirs" Sean Connery and Alex Ferguson. He looked so happy. Dont know if it was before or after the match. He was showered and clean anyway.

Nice he gets support from the Scottish celebs.
September 08, 2012, 11:32 PM
By lashurst

As always great report Nigel, despite the birthday party distractions!
September 08, 2012, 11:33 PM
By sengamac

Good and fast report, Nigel. You're a star.

Well done, Andy - our man.
September 08, 2012, 11:33 PM
By OldScotSupport

Hazybear, you got so excited you can't count - it is ONLY two finals...!  I feel very confident Andy will win here.  The scheduling has worked in his favour also, never mind the fact that Nole is going to lose the first set, and who knows after that if he can come back or not.  Nothing is guaranteed, but he will have that extra days rest, and you only have to look back to 2008 to know what a difference that can make, as it definitely took the edge off Andy for the final.

This is his best chance to win, he needs to own the situation.  He is also going to rise to number 3 in the world, so moving on up in that respect also.  It wasn't the greatest performance today, but he hasn't always handled the wind well, so overall it was a great effort.

This is his summer, he needs to crown it off now.  Lendl has made a huge difference with his consistency this year in slams.  The french will always be a special case and probably beyond reach, but on all the others he has been right there, even in Australia, he could easily have won that fifth set against Nole.

Seize the day Monday, and the US Open is yours.  So hope Ferrer wins, because Andy will not lose to Ferrer in a slam final I can tell you that right now.  If Ferrer is to lose, lets have 5 gruelling sets please.

The weather forecast is excellent for sun/mon thankfully.
September 08, 2012, 11:36 PM
By scotsgeek28

don't think Andy blew him off the court.

It was windy.
September 08, 2012, 11:43 PM
By Grabcopy

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

So true, he really deserved this win, not least, for staying cool when Berdych came back at him in the 4th set, and he managed to respond to take it to the tie-break.  But also, as you say, to stay cool in the tie-break when 5-2 down, well that was pure street fighting man.   yay clap
September 08, 2012, 11:45 PM
By lgriev10

Great report on a match played in horrendously tricky conditions.

Hmmm - well nobody believed me when I said we shouldn't start assuming anything just because Andy raced through the 2nd and 3rd sets, and look what happened!  Tennis is so unpredictable.  The momentum can change in just a point or two.  To be fair to Berdych (although why one should be after the disgraceful hat incident) he did well to pull himself back from the brink to turn the 4th set into a contest.  Fortunately Andy went one better by coming back in the tie-break and holding his nerve to win it.  I'm proud of our man.  Very proud indeed.
September 09, 2012, 12:09 AM
By Aileen

It was windy.

Okay. lol. That makes sense.
September 09, 2012, 12:16 AM
By Emma Jean

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