Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Will, skill propel Murray

First Grand Slam win for Brits in 76 years

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NEW YORK -- His considerable lead, and a chance at history, slipping away, Andy Murray dug deep for stamina and mental strength, outlasting Novak Djokovic in a thrilling five-set U.S. Open final Monday.

It had been 76 years since a British man won a Grand Slam singles championship and, at least as far as Murray was concerned, it was well worth the wait.

Ending a nation's long drought, and snapping his own four-final skid in majors, Murray finally pulled through with everything at stake on a Grand Slam stage, shrugging off defending champion Djokovic's comeback bid to win 7-6 (10), 7-5, 2-6, 3-6, 6-2.

"Novak is so, so strong. He fights until the end in every single match," Murray said. "I don't know how I managed to come through in the end."

Yes, Murray already showed he could come up big by winning the gold medal in front of a home crowd at the London Olympics last month. But this was different. This was a Grand Slam tournament, the standard universally used to measure tennis greatness -- and the 287th since Britain's Fred Perry won the 1936 U.S. Championships, as the event was known back then.

Murray vs. Djokovic was a test of will as much as skill, lasting 4 hours, 54 minutes, tying the record for longest U.S. Open final.

By the end, Djokovic was the one looking fragile, trying to catch breathers and doing deep knee bends at the baseline to stretch his aching groin muscles.

"I really tried my best," Djokovic said.

 

-- The Associated Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition September 11, 2012 C7

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