Murray Dethrones Djokovic at U.S. Open to Win First Major

by John on September 11, 2012

Britannia rules the waves once again. Scotland’s Andy Murray defeated defending champion Novak Djokovic 7-6 (10), 7-5, 2-6, 3-6, 6-2 in a marathon final at the U.S. Open yesterday, winning his first major title and ending a British drought of 76 years without a Grand Slam champion. Murray had been snakebit in four previous major finals, just like his coach Ivan Lendl who also lost his first four, but then went on to win eight Grand Slams. Fred Perry’s victory at what was then called the U.S. Championships in 1936 was the last time a Brit hoisted the trophy at a major. Playing in windy and blustery conditions, Murray and Djokovic battled like two prizefighters in a heavyweight championship bout. It was as much a battle of will as skill. Rallies of 10, 20, 30, and even one of 54 strokes, were often necessary to just win a point. The match lasted four hours and 54 minutes, tying the record for the longest U.S. Open final. It took 87 minutes alone to complete the first set, which featured four breaks of serve and a final-record 22-point tiebreaker. When Murray raced to a 4-0 lead in the second set on the strength of two service breaks, it appeared the defending champion would soon be dethroned. But Djokovic fought back with two breaks of his own to even things at 4-4, before dropping serve in the 12th game to go two sets down. Surely, now, the Serb’s will had been broken. But no, the indomitable Nole rallied with two superb sets to force a deciding fifth. The comeback, though, had taken its toll on Djokovic. Murray, with more gas left in the tank, closed out the last set with relative ease. “It was incredibly tricky conditions,” Murray said. “After the third and fourth sets it was tough mentally for me… Novak is so, so strong. He fights till the end in every single match and I don’t know how I managed to come through in the end.” With the win, Murray moves up to No. 3 in the world, supplanting Rafael Nadal, who has been out since Wimbledon with an injured knee. Djokovic remains at No. 2, with Roger Federer hanging on to No. 1, despite his quarterfinal loss to Tomas Berdych. “It wasn’t to be. I want to congratulate Andy for his first Grand Slam,” Djokovic said. “He absolutely deserves it. I gave it all. It was another tremendous match to be a part of.”

 

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