- US Open, Day 13
Murray masters the wind to topple Berdych
Andy Murray overcame near-farcical conditions to book his place in the US Open final with a four-set win over Tomas Berdych.
A howling wind at Flushing Meadows made conventional play virtually impossible and after dropping the first set, it was Murray who adapted the better and he secured a 5-7 6-2 6-1 7-6 victory.
Any game plans the two had pretty much went out of the window the moment they stepped on to the Arthur Ashe Stadium and were greeted by a fierce wind.
It was clear from the first point that the wind was going to play a major part, as Berdych was inconvenienced and forced out of position. He went on to hold serve, as did Murray despite having to delay on three occasions as the ball had been blown out of position on the toss.
Murray broke through in an epic third game, suggesting he was the more comfortable of the two in the conditions. He looked well placed to hold in the fourth game, only for controversy to rear its head. Murray played a superb drop shot that had Berdych cooked, but a fraction of a second after hitting the ball Murray's hat flew off. There was a lengthy discussion between both players and umpire Pascal Maria - which resulted in the point being replayed even though Berdych had no play. Two points later Murray lost the game and was understandably frustrated as he discarded his hat.
Life was extremely tough for the player facing the wind and in the 12th game it cost Murray as Berdych stepped in and hit fiercely to break through and take the opening set.
Murray shrugged off the loss of the set to break at the start of the second, importantly it was a break that came while he was playing into the wind. It appeared to unsettle Berdych and as Murray stepped up his level the Czech fell off. He was broken for a second time, with Murray making a concerted effort to be more aggressive.
Berdych grew more frustrated as the second set progressed, he was seen mouthing 'this is ridiculous' to his box and his woes were compounded as Murray levelled the match.
The Czech began the start of the third set as he did the second: awfully. He had the wind with him, but ragged play handed Murray the break. Murray's greater variety of shot shone through in the third, as he used his excellent slice to torment Berdych who could not combat the low balls and gave up another break of serve.
A third break and the set followed, with Murray toying with Berdych by harking back to years gone by with a series of sliced forehands. The Czech's default position was to hit through the ball and he continued to try it, but Murray's range of play led to a series of mishits.
Berdych had the air of a beaten man at the start of the fourth set and with his primary weapon, his serve, severely handicapped by the wind - he was broken again as Murray hammered a nail in the coffin.
The match was effectively over at 3-0 in the fourth, as Berdych looked empty and Murray had break points. But the Brit failed to take them and it brought about a shift in momentum.
Berdych started to show belief and reeled off points at will. There was a danger for Murray, but he came up with a huge service hold in the ninth game, serving into the wind, as the set went into a tiebreak.
Murray was on the back foot from the outset as Berdych smashed a clean winner off a second serve. A fabulous smash on the run and an ace gave the Czech a cushion, but he dropped two of the points while playing with the wind and it proved crucial.
Murray held his two serves, won one from Berdych and dug in to win two points against the wind to close out the contest and book his second US Open final appearance.