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Murray Tops Berdych To Reach US Open Final; Aims For First Major Title

New York, U.S.A.

Murray© AFP/Getty ImagesAndy Murray will attempt to win his first Grand Slam championship title in his fifth major final.

Third-seeded Briton Andy Murray advanced to his second US Open final on Saturday after he defeated sixth seed Tomas Berdych of the Czech Republic 5-7, 6-2, 6-1, 7-6(7) in windy conditions for victory in three hours and 58 minutes.

"It's been [a] great [few months],” admitted Murray. “To be in the final and get the chance to play for a Grand Slam is great. My results in the Slams over the last couple of years have been very good. Obviously, this year in the major tournaments, along with the Olympics, it's been my best year. [I have] never made two Grand Slam finals in a year, so that's obviously a good sign that I'm playing better and still learning." 

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The 25-year-old Murray, who has a 99-27 match record at Grand Slam championships, will contest his fifth major final against second-seeded Serbian and defending champion Novak Djokovic or fourth seed David Ferrer of Spain. "Whatever happens in the final, it's been a great year," said Murray. "But all I want to make sure I do in the final is that I give 110 per cent. I know how hard these opportunities are to come by, and I will give it everything.""

Murray, the 2008 runner-up (l. to Federer), is bidding to become the first British man to lift a major trophy since Fred Perry at the 1936 US Championships. Last month, Murray won the singles gold medal at the London 2012 Olympics. “I'm obviously a lot more mature [than in 2008]," said Murray. "I have had a lot more experience in these sort of situations, than obviously then. It was my first [Grand] Slam final.”

After experiencing a delay of 75 minutes, due to a tornado warning and torrential rain, Murray and Berdych walked onto Arthur Ashe Stadium court knowing winds of 25 miles per hour would hinder high-level tennis. As a result, both players exchanged early service breaks. Berdych took his chance at 5-6, converting his second set point opportunity with a forehand winner to end the 77-minute opener.

BerdychMurray got off to the best possible start in the 44-minute second set, converting his second of three break point chances and started to dictate play. In the fifth game, Murray hit a net cord winner to open up a 4-1 lead. During the first point at 5-2, Murray’s chair and racquet back blew onto the court just as Berdych was hitting a backhand return. Murray came back from 15/30 to win the set.

Berdych’s service woes continued as the high winds affected his ball toss and Murray earned errors on the Czech’s backhand. Murray had it all how own way, breaking to love in the opening game of the third set; to 30 in the third game, when Berdych mis-timed a forehand wide, and a third break after five deuces in the seventh game.

Murray looked on course for a spot in the final at 3-0, when he nullified Berdych’s power game from behind the baseline. But the Scot lost concentration and Berdych gained the momentum, attacking the net off powerful backhands, to win three straight games. Serving first in the set, Murray came within two points of the match at 5-4.

In the tie-break, Berdych found his rhythm on serve to take a 4-1 lead. But Murray fought back to 5-5, before Berdych created a set point opportunity with a volley winner. Murray saved it with a backhand winner for 6-6 and earned his first match point chance at 7-6. Berdych hit an ace down the middle, but struck a forehand long on the next point. At 8-7, Murray leapt in the air to celebrate after Berdych hit a forehand long.

MurrayMurray has now won five of his past six matches against opponents in the Top 10 of the South African Airways ATP Rankings and has a 46-11 match record on the 2012 season. He has won 23 tour-level titles.

Berdych was attempting to become the third Czech man to reach the US Open after Jan Kodes (1971, 1973) and Ivan Lendl (1982-1989). The 26 year old is guaranteed to equal his career-high World No. 6 on Monday. He dropped to a 46-17 season mark.

“[The wind] was really, really tough one,” said Berdych, who committed 62 unforced errors. “He dealt with that much better than I did.”

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©Mariusz Fyrstenberg

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