Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Murray takes semi on wild, windy day

Other men's match, women's final pushed back a day

  • Print

NEW YORK -- With a potentially dangerous storm bearing down on the U.S. Open, play was suspended in the first set of defending champion Novak Djokovic's semifinal Saturday, making this the fifth consecutive year the tournament will fail to finish on time because of the weather.

Djokovic was trailing fourth-seeded David Ferrer 5-2 after about a half-hour of action when tournament referee Brian Earley came out on court and told the players and the chair umpire that they needed to stop.

As some spectators at Arthur Ashe Stadium booed or whistled, an announcement over the loudspeakers said: "At this time, we ask you to please make your way out of the stadium in an orderly fashion."

That match, which will determine who faces Olympic champion Andy Murray in the final, was scheduled to resume today at 10 a.m. CDT. The men's final was shifted from its originally scheduled slot to Monday -- something that has happened at every U.S. Open since 2008.

"I would say we're getting very tired of having Monday finals," tournament director David Brewer said.

The women's final between Serena Williams and Victoria Azarenka that was supposed to be played Saturday night was shifted to today at 4:30 p.m. It's the fourth time in the last five years the women's title match was rescheduled.

Unlike at Wimbledon and the Australian Open, the U.S. Open does not have a roof to protect any court used for tournament matches. It's also the only Grand Slam tournament that schedules two men's semifinals on Saturday, which leaves less room for flexibility when there is disruptive weather.

Next year, for the first time, a day off will be inserted between the semifinals and final, either by shifting the semis to Friday or by changing the title match to Monday.

Brewer said he did consider moving the Ferrer-Djokovic match to another court and playing it at the same time as Murray-Berdych, but "we thought the only way to go was to keep them back-to-back" in Ashe out of deference to ticket-holders, TV partners and viewers around the world.

There was a rain delay of more than an hour Saturday morning, delaying the start of Murray's 5-7, 6-2, 6-1, 7-6 (7) victory over Tomas Berdych of the Czech Republic in the opening semifinal. At least they got to finish, even if it meant dealing with 20 mph wind that blew a changeover chair onto the court on one point and yanked Murray's hat off during another.

"I'm surprised it didn't happen more," Murray said. "It was so, so windy."

In the end, he navigated his way into his fifth Grand Slam final.

Now he'll try to win his first Grand Slam title -- and first for any British man in 76 years.

"It was brutal," Murray said about the conditions during his 3-hour, 58-minute victory. "Hard to describe. You had to focus for every single point. ... Some of the hardest conditions I've ever played in, for sure, and I come from Scotland, so that's saying something."

This major tournament is the first since the 2004 French Open with neither Roger Federer nor Rafael Nadal in the semifinals. Federer was beaten by Berdych in the quarter-finals, while Nadal did not enter, sidelined by a partially torn tendon in his left knee.

Federer, Nadal and Djokovic have combined to win 29 of the last 30 major titles, a stretch that began at the 2005 French Open.

The third-seeded Murray will get yet another chance to put his name on that list. The last major singles trophies for a British man were won by Fred Perry at Wimbledon and the U.S. Championships in 1936.

Murray also played in the 2008 final at the U.S. Open, losing to Federer.

"I'm obviously a lot more mature," Murray said at a news conference interrupted by appearances from actor Sean Connery and Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson, who also are Scottish. "I have had a lot more experience in these sort of situations than obviously then. It was my first Slam final."

Murray is playing confidently after beating Federer to win a gold medal for Britain at the London Games in August, about a month after losing to Federer in the Wimbledon final.

He also appeared in the final at the Australian Open in 2010 and 2011, settling for runner-up status each time. Only one other man in tennis history was defeated in his first four major finals -- Ivan Lendl, who just so happens to be Murray's coach and was on hand Saturday.

While eliminating Federer on Wednesday, 2010 Wimbledon runnerup Berdych pounded his flat forehands right where he wanted them and made a total of 21 unforced errors in four sets. Bothered by the swirling air Saturday, the sixth-seeded Berdych nearly eclipsed that in the opening set alone, with 19, and finished with 64 unforced errors. Murray only made 20.

"I don't see any reason that my game would just crash" other than the tough-to-handle wind, Berdych said. "It was something (that) really (affected) my game. But that's how it is."

Berdych wondered aloud whether there should be a rule in place to prevent matches from being played when the wind is as much of a factor as it was Saturday.

As Murray hit a serve to start the second set's last game, his changeover chair was blown over by a gust and, like tumbleweed, rolled onto the blue court, spilling all sorts of other items, too -- racket bag, white towel, etc.

A let was called, cancelling the point, and both players smiled at the chaos. Murray held there to even the match at a set apiece.

Another strong burst knocked the 6-foot-5 Berdych off-balance as he was about to serve to begin the third, and he wound up getting broken at love.

Berdych repeatedly found simply launching a ball overhead for his service toss problematic, often letting it drop to the court without taking a swing. When he did actually serve, there still were plenty of issues, including six double-faults.

"There is not a player who likes these conditions, but there are some players that these kind of conditions can suit to their game a bit better than the other ones," Berdych said. "That's the difference. ... Andy was better in this part definitely, and that's why he actually took the win."

Ballkids scurried to collect items tossed about by the air, from paper napkins to plastic bags and various other debris. And through it all, both players were forced to adjust to swerving shots made tricky by the wind, recalibrating at the last possible second. Murray, certainly, was more capable of doing just that.

-- The Associated Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition September 9, 2012 B13

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

Rinelle Harper and family thank man who found her

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • A monarch butterfly looks for nectar in Mexican sunflowers at Winnipeg's Assiniboine Park Monday afternoon-Monarch butterflys start their annual migration usually in late August with the first sign of frost- Standup photo– August 22, 2011   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)
  • Geese take cover in long grass in the Tuxedo Business Park near Route 90 Wednesday- Day 28– June 27, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

Who has been the Jets best defenceman so far this season?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google