Magic Murray Beats Nadal to Reach First Grand Slam Final

us open 2008 tennisAndy Murray, the young man from a wee town in Scotland claimed his placed in tennis history today, stunning the world number 1, Rafael Nadal in their US Open semi Final to reach his first grand slam final.

The match resumed after a rain delay yesterday with Murray 2 sets up, Nadal secured the third set before Murray fought back from a break of serve down in the fourth set to claim his famous victory 6-2 7-6(7-5) 4-6 6-4.

Andy Murray entered the match having lost every match he has ever played against Rafael Nadal; in their 5 previous encounters he had only won a set in their first encounter back at the Australian open in 2007. Only 2 months ago on the centre court of Wimbledon, Nadal had convincingly brushed aside Andy Murray in straight sets. Nadal went onto win Wimbledon and then claim Olympic Gold in Beijing, but none of that matter today – Murray was simply better than Nadal today and the Spaniard can have no excuses for his loss.

Andy Murray will now face Roger Federer in the final on Monday at 5pm (10pm UK time) for the chance to become US Open Champion and the first Britton to win a grand slam men’s title since Fred Perry 77 years ago.

After the most amazing performance yesterday from Andy Murray, some doubted that Murray could keep up the form and the rain delay would allow Nadal enough time to regroup and hit back at Murray. With Nadal up a break leading 3-2 in the third, the match began with the Spaniard serving. The opening games all went with serve, with Murray looking still as formidable on his own serve, though slightly less menacing on return as he did yesterday.

Andy Murray beats Rafael NadalMurray raised his game with Nadal serving for the set at 5-4 and produced the first break point of the afternoon, Nadal though is number 1 in the world and fires down an ace to save the point and goes on to win the next two points and win the third set.

Nadal’s only break point and break of serve came in the opening game of the third set and when Murray went 0-30 down in the opening game of the fourth set the signs were looking ominous. Murray was able to rally himself though and levelled up at 30-30 before giving Nadal a huge chance with double fault. Just as Nadal had done in the previous game, Murray saves the break point with and ace and then served out the game for an important hold.

The next 10 minutes in the match produced some of the best tennis you will ever see, Murray raced into a 15-40 lead, but Nadal’s serve was firing and he saved first with a big serve and forehand combo and then the next with ace. Murray remained focused though and brings up another break point with an unstoppable backhand pass down the line, the break point come and goes though as Murray nets a regulation backhand and we are back to deuce.

A familiar pattern emerges with Murray playing blistering tennis on the deuce point to rack up more break points, before tensing up and making the error on the break point opportunity, another 3 break points come and go and this game look like it may determine the match. Murray gains yet another break point, number 7 in this game if you lost count and Nadal not for the first saves with an ace. Nadal would finally hold the game, which could have proved a brutal blow for Murray.

What usually happened in situations like this is the player who fails to convert numerous break chances is immediately broken themselves on their next service game. That’s what happened to Murray, with his composure seemingly gone, four unforced errors from Murray allows Nadal to break serve to love and this match was heading for 5 sets.

The set was threatening to run away from Murray, as Nadal consolidated the break by holding his serve and Murray 0-30 down on his next service game. On reflection of this match the next four points may indeed have been the point when Murray won this match, it would have been easy for Murray to give up on this set at this point, but he never. He served out the game winning the next 3 points to secure his service game.

Murray’s uncanny ability to make players play one more shot than they need to serves him well in the next game, with Nadal serving the score makes its way to deuce, with Nadal in control of rally he sends Murray one way and then fires ball cross court in opposite direction with a shot that no one could return, no one except Murray that is, he can’t get much on it, but it’s enough to make Nadal player another shot, which the Spaniard mishits into the net, bringing up Murray’s 18th break point – He’s failed to convert the last 15 thought – Lucky 16 for Andy Murray as Nadal goes long with a forehand and Murray breaks back.

So much of a tennis match is played in the minds of each player, from only dropping his serve to love a dew games before, Murray holds his next service game to love taking his first lead in the fourth set at 4-3 and the score moves onto 5-4, with Murray just one game away from winning.

After to quite fortunate net cords Murray finds himself 30-30 and only two points from victory, A big serve from Nadal another point for Murray after another long rally sees the score move onto deuce. After three and half hours of scintillating tennis Murray secures his first match point after one of the matches best rallies Murray finishing the point of by taking the initiative and moving into net and punching away a volley.

Nadal looked like a beaten man and on match point makes a crucial mistake and brings Murray into net with poor drop shot, the Scot chases it down and sends a backhand pass around the stranded world number one. Game Set and Match Andy Murray.

After the match Murray met American funnyman Will Ferrell who congradulated the Scot on his win and in a rare glimse of Murray letting loose he joked with Hollywood star and even tried to blag a free DVD. When he eventually got round to speaking to waiting reporters Murray said, 

It’s awesome to beat him, a great feeling, He’s beaten me five times in a row, so that was tough, and to do it in a semi meant it was really difficult. With the rain delay yesterday, and it was windy today, there were a lot of different things, but I’m happy I came through in the end. It was really tough to serve from the near end, it was very windy, so I knew I was going to have chances to break and I just had to hang in.

The BIG 3 has just become the BIG 4!