Andy Murray overcame a swirling wind to wrap up an uncomfortable afternoon court at the US Open, reaching his fifth Grand Slam final with a 5-7, 6-2, 6-1, 7-6 (9-7) defeat of Tomas Berdych on Saturday.
The match, which started more than an hour late due to morning rainstorms and a tornado that briefly touched down in the New York metropolitan area, was completed in near-impossible conditions, with the ball deflected at times by gusts reaching 40 kilometres per hour.
The poor weather, which has forced a delayed Monday finish to the major for the last four editions, caused officials to scrap the Saturday night women’s final between Victoria Azarenka and Serena Williams, postponing it to Sunday at an unspecified time.
Wind for the first semi blew a player chair onto the court at one point and flying paper was a constant distraction.
“It was brutal,” said Murray, who converted on seven of his 22 break chances and kept his unforced error count well down at 20. “You had to focus on every single point, be in position for every shot.
“The ball would stop, move the other way, chairs were flying onto the court. These were some of the worst conditions I’ve ever played in. I’m from Scotland so that’s saying quite a lot.”
Murray dropped the challenging first set after 67 minutes as early progress was slow between the pair. But the Scot got a handle on the conditions, starting the second set with a break and earning another for 4-1, as a Berdych shot careened off the net cord.
Murray levelled at a set each after two hours on court and won the third from a similar start with a break of his Czech opponent, trying to reach a second Grand Slam final after losing at Wimbledon two years ago.
Murray broke to end the third to earn his two-sets-to-one lead, but needed a tiebreaker in the fourth after standing two points from victory in the 10th game. The Scot rallied from 5-2 down in the decider and saved a Berdych match point.
Berdych saved one for Murray with a seventh ace, but put a forehand long moments later as the gruelling war of nerves finally ended.
“I feel more relaxed in New York,” said Murray. “Providing they get the next match finished, there is not a lot of turnaround time until the final.
“I’ll have to be really prepared and to all the right stuff to be ready. “I hope this can be my first time to win a major, I know how hard they are to win. In the conditions of today, you had to be in it from the first point to the last.”
Keywords: 2012 US Open