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Murray stuns Nadal to book US Open final spot PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 09 September 2008

AFP, NEW YORK - Andy Murray advanced to his first Grand Slam final by stunning world number one Rafael Nadal in a US Open semi-final, booking a date with reigning champion Roger Federer on Monday.

The 21-year-old Scotsman defeated the reigning Wimbledon, French Open and Olympic champion 6-2, 7-6 (7/5), 4-6, 6-4 in a match that began Saturday but was concluded the next dat after being halted by rain in the third set.
 
"I'm delighted to be in my first Slam final," Murray said. "I'm delighted I won against a guy who has played as well as him. He is the best player in the world this year. He has played great tennis."
 
The showdown with 12-time Grand Slam champion Federer was pushed to Monday, the first time since 1987 that bad weather has postponed the year's last Grand Slam tournament to an extra day.
 
Murray became only the third British man to reach a Slam final in the 40-year Open era, after Greg Rusedski in the 1997 US Open and John Lloyd at the 1977 Australian Open, and would be the first to win a title by beating Federer.
 
"He's probably the greatest player ever," Murray said of Federer. "To get the chance to play against him in a Slam final is an honor. I've played well against him in the past. Hopefully I can do the same again."
 
Murray owns a 2-1 lead over Federer in their career rivalry, losing their first meeting 6-3, 7-5 at the 2005 Bangkok final but winning 7-5, 6-4 at Cincinnati in 2006 and 6-7 (6/8), 6-3, 6-4 in Dubai six months ago.
 
Nadal carried a 19-match Slam win streak into his first US Open semi-final against a foe he had beaten in all five of their prior meetings, taking 11 sets in a row off Murray before Saturday.
 
Sixth seed Murray will rise to fourth in the next rankings, matching Tim Henman and Rusedski for the top ranking ever achieved by a British man.
 
Murray slept on a two-set lead but was down a break at 2-3 in the third set with Nadal serving when play resumed at Arthur Ashe Stadium after a delay of about 26 hours from Saturday's stoppage at adjacent Louis Armstrong Stadium.
 
"Obviously tough to sleep on it but I'm very glad I came through in the end," Murray said.
 
"There were a lot of things I had to deal with, change of court, change of conditions, different atmosphere. I just had to stay calm. I was playing well enough to win but I knew Nadal was going to come at me."
 
Nadal held serve three more times to take the third set 27 minutes after the resumption, although he was pushed to a break point by Murray in the last game of the set before blasting three forehand winners to force a fourth set.
 
"I saw the match for sure was not impossible," Nadal said. "I was feeling better. He had some mistakes."
 
The drama grew in the second game of the fourth set when Murray, who saved a break point to hold in the prior game, squandered seven break chances and allowed Nadal to hold when Murray sent a forehand wide and netted a backhand.
 
"He only missed one first serve in those points," Murray said. "Even though I had break chances he played well on them and I missed a couple shots I maybe shouldn't have."
 
Murray's misfires and mistakes allowed Nadal to escape, leaving the Briton 2-for-17 in break chances at that point, and the Spaniard responded by breaking Murray at love for a 2-1 lead thanks to more unforced errors from the Scotsman.
 
"Even though I got broken in the following game, I still kept my emotions in check. I knew I was going to have chances to get back in the match and I obviously did."
 
But Nadal handed back the break in the sixth game, netting a forehand drop volley and then firing a forehand long to pull Murray level 3-3.
 
"Yesterday I was not playing. Today was a different match," Nadal said. "I played much better, with a little energy. I had my chance in the fourth. I just didn't come back."
 
Aided by two favorable net cord bounces, Murray reached match point on Nadal's serve in the last game with a forehand volley winner capping an extended rally.
 
"He was a little bit lucky the last game at the net but that's part of the game," Nadal said. "He beat me because he was better than me."
 
On match point, Nadal tried a drop volley that Murray pounded with a backhand volley past the shocked Spanish left-hander to claim the greatest victory of his career after 90 minutes of Sunday play and 3 1/2 hours overall.

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